Ten years ago, J. Mann returned to Canada after spending six years in Barcelona. While in Spain, he was front man for the band The Customers (rated as one of the best new bands by  Barcelona’s City TV (now 8TV) ), released a couple of solo albums – Too Much Theatre (2005) and How to be an Ambivalent Negotiator (2007) – ( Rockdelux  described him as an “affectionate songwriter that knows how to express himself with grace and clarity”), and created the semi-annual Knock on Wood music night, which brought together dozens of celebrated independent musicians over the course of three years to interpret their songs on acoustic instruments, praised by  LeCool  as “one of the best of Barcelona”. 

J. Mann’s latest album, Ten Animals, was ten years in the making and was recorded in Toronto, Barcelona and Buenos Aires. The album’s leading single, “ Help Us Get It Right ” was captured as a work-in-progress by Mitch Fillion at  Southern Souls  and later evolved to the album version with the backbeat provided by Toronto drummer  Cam de Laat  and guitars, organs and strings recorded in Barcelona by former bandmate, Diego Mateu. The central theme of the album revolves around marriage and partnership, while other tracks explore the thirst for praise on “The Prize”, the deceptiveness of social media on “Compare & Despair”, and surveillance society on “Jeru”.

Musically, the unwavering starting point is the acoustic guitar, but J. Mann is not afraid to widen the sonic palette. You’ll hear vintage electronic sounds and instrumental swaps: listen as a fuzz keyboard takes the role of a bass, la clave replaces a backing vocal and a bird song becomes a beat. J. Mann enlisted the help of his brother-in-law from Buenos Aires, writer, musician and filmmaker  Emiliano Jelicié  on drums and percussion (including an inimitable cajón performance on “You Judge Amiss”), Bryan Goudie to tease out new sounds on a fretless bass, poet Nasser Hussain  for lyrical collaboration and his wife  Miranda Jelicié  for backing vocals and the cover’s illustration. Tying it together back in Toronto for mixing, mastering, flourishes of recording, singing and instrumentation was long-time collaborator and Grammy award-winning engineer, producer and musician  Inaam Haq .

Ten Animals Release Date: May 10th, 2018.