Fat Mannequins is an indie rock band from Portland, OR. Yet, from the opening track of their debut album,Love and Death, Fat Mannequins makes it clear that they are not following any fads and will not be defined by genre or geography. "It's about songs and themes, not genre," says Simon Milliman, frontman and founder of the group, "There has never been a real discussion about what the band has to sound like, just which songs to do and what those songs need to be their best."
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Co-fronting the band is Jasmin Johnson whose immense vocal range can lilt the listener to sleep and jolt them into a high pitched tent revival fever in the same song. One such inspired track is, Cloud 9, where dream-like atmospheres and Jasmin's haunting, whispered verses explode into Simon's fuzzed out guitars, gospel organ, and Jasmin's fervent exclamation, "I know that heaven's not far, my friends!"
Jerrad Nash rounds out the trio with some of the most tasteful and uniquely personalized drumming this side of Ringo Starr. "Jerrad is so much more than just a drummer," says Simon, "He breathes music and is a never ending fount of ideas. In a lot of ways he's the quality control of all the music we make together."
Fat Mannequins' first album, Love and Death, is interesting not just in its expansive musical scope, but also in the fact that it's a tribute album with no covers on it. Recalls Simon, "When Lou Reed died about a year ago it struck me quite profoundly that I don't have many musical heros left. They're all dying. Most of them are already gone. When you can't look forward to anymore artistic output from the ones that inspired you to make music in the first place it's really sobering. So, while on all my other projects I've always tried to hide my influences, on this album we put them all on our sleeves. The album is dedicated to Lou and not in a subtle way, either."