"If Bikini Kill and Sonic Youth had procreated, the frantic infant might sound like this female-fronted, Brooklyn-bred noisy quintet. It's taken the band nearly five years to transform their sound into the edgy, indie-punk showcase on their debut full-length, I Can't Sleep Unless I Hear You Breathing. The end result is a blend of punchy guitar-pop lines and dissonant, wailing harmonies, all pitted against the raw, energetic vocals of singer Tina DaCosta. With each track almost exploding into the next ("Sleeping" to "Stranded") and the occasional reprieve ("Crawl"), Man in Gray attempts to modernize the once-cherished, now wheezing art-punk vibe.
- CMJ New Music Report
"This album has been burning a hole in our cd players for the past two weeks." The Music Slut
"It's pretty amazing how pervasive Sonic Youth's ragged tattered-sweater noise is in the indie rock scene even today. Dropping them as a referent for a band may have been commonplace in the early to mid nineties, but these days indie rock is about rehashing the seventies and eighties with a laptop twist. Rarely is there a band anymore that jumps into the four-piece ninties pants and actually succeeds at it. Man In Gray listened to a lot of Washing Machine and Dirty era Sonic Youth when they were writing their album " I Can't Sleep Unless I Hear You Breathing." The entire album is pretty much a homage to SY's scrap metal hooks complete with catchy Kim Gordon vocals at her crankiest, sexiest moments. The ghosts of Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo's tipsy finger-waltzes ripple in and out of the opening notes of standout track "Stranded." "Bad Mood" could very well be a studio cut from Daydream Nation. The Best track is "Crawl," a windswept graveyard with rickety trees and full moons, drifts in with wispy guitar reverb and slow heartbeat drums thumps and chases you with heavy Halloween riffs and handclaps. Rarely does annyone jump into the Sonic Youth pants, they're big pants (Parachute pants even) so its an impressive feat to capture some of the essence of the patron saints of crackly, noisy indie rock and crystalize it. Man In Gray do quite the bang-up job of pulling up and over that wall with a little extra punk flair on the side. A.K.S."
The Deli Magazine
"The band are a bunch of furious rockers and the album highlights the best parts of their live shows while cleaning up the sound just enough. I honestly love listening to this record and would recommend it to anyone."
"Man in Gray pretty much wowed me with their latest release a couple of weeks ago and I've been on a full out kick of the band since then listening to the album pretty much non-stop. I don't know why more people aren't latching onto this band right now, you should latch onto them. Go to the show tonight, latch on, buy the album, it'll be good for you!!!"Pop Tarts Suck Toasted
"Don’t let the title fool you; though at times its lyrics wax poetic, this is not an emo record. Rather, it borrows from many (non-emo) genres that maybe shouldn’t work together but do. From the rapidly swirling psych riffs of ‘If You Ride It to the End, You’ll Get What You Came For’, the Pixies-esque guitar line of ‘Sleeping’, and the blues-rock chorus of ‘Stranded’, this album incorporates everything you like about rock and roll into a seamless, danceable whole. The best songs feature an unlikely marriage of driving shoegaze beats with stretches of rapid fire noise that remind us there’s a connection between punk and post-punk. Singer Tina DaCosta’s vocals, authoritatively punchy like Corin Tucker (but more smoky than shrill), are sometimes sweet and sometimes screamed in her distinctive, raspy voice, as she yells prescient lyrics. Though the music gets a tad dramatic at times, one must remember that at heart, Man in Gray is a party band, albeit one for thinking people." - Jamie Peck, The L Magazine
"Man In Gray is a study in contrasts: male and female, dirty and clean, placid and agitated. Two of those three dualities colo "Green," from the band's 2007 full-length I Can't Sleep Unless I Hear You Breathing
before the tune even reaches the two minute mark. As the track begins, singer Tina DaCosta floats in on ocean-mist guitars, usines just enough breath to match the gentle accompaniment. Then in its 116th second, the song explodes, submitting to the tension that has been covertly building. Guitars tussle with drums, and DaCosta, shouting, spurs them on."
the Deli Magazine
"If You Ride It Till The End, You’ll Get What You Came For" isn’t just the opening track on Brooklyn combo Man In Gray’s first full length. It's a dare, a foreshadowing statement on the spastic post-punk that's still to come on the record. And for these guys, the cherry on top is clearly vocalist Tina DeCosta and her alternately graceful and gravely wail. I Can't Sleep Unless I Hear You Breathing walks the line between jagged rock-n-roll and revivalist new wave by pairing its clean sounds with what is much more apparent, its clear chaos.
"Stranded" starts with straightforward, crisp guitars. But it builds darker as DeCosta hisses lines such as "Where can you go where people stay the same? It's not an easy place. It isn't anywhere." "Fault Lines," meanwhile, offers up its grating guitars at the onset, and DeCosta sneers and howls like a disciple of Karen O. Of course, she talks pretty the next, just to keep us on the balls of our heels. "Crawl" wanders on in weird sci-fi fashion for more than a minute before the song finds its fragile structure. Turns out it was just waiting to be bent and broken by Man in Gray guitarists Jeremy Joseph and Bryan Bruchman. It goes on like this. Dizzying, aching, and unpredictable, I Can't Sleep continues to reveal one surprise after another. And that means something in a New York City indie scene that sometimes seems more predictable than what’s going on in the flyover states."
– Ava DialDetour
"Despite constantly getting lumped into the Brooklyn hipster pile (which is kind of a backwards complement to these folks in all seriousness), Man In Gray’s razor sharp indie rock guitarwork and blissful noise rock detours set this resilient NYC outfit light years ahead of their peers while helping to excavate this quintet from the rest of the self-important pack’s avalanche with the quickness. I CAN’T SLEEP UNLESS I HEAR YOU BREATHING is this female-fronted unit’s latest exercise in punk-spirited, multi-influenced rawk, a 11-track affair whose atmospheric post-punk and swirling melodic overtones would remind you of Sonic Youth going toe to toe with The Pretenders on cuts like the sinewy "Stranded," the diminishing "Commodity 2," or the stoned shoegazing vibe radiated from "Fault Lines." Fortified with their not-so-secret weapon vocalist Tina DaCosta, whose powerful presence and undeniable pipes assist the twin guitar freakouts on "Bad Mood" and stand on their own convincingly on "Sleeping," ICSUIHYB engages the listener with this group’s dazzling array of danceable discord and well-textured dissonance." -Mike SOS, Skratch Magazine
"I Can't Sleep Unless I Hear You Breathing
by Man In Gray - Is it a crime to find the first three tracks on an album "enough" upon first listen? Not in a bad way, at all, but more like "dude, those songs rocked me, fair and square... uncle!" I'm finding that happens more and more with me (call it 2K ADD) and that's kind of where I was when I first listened to I Can't Sleep Unless I Hear You Breathing
. I took in, and enjoyed, the whole album, but what I kept going back to were the first three songs. They're blistering guitar slice and dice material. Pretty Girls Make Graves/Sonic Youth territory. Well, though I've had this record for many months, it wasn't until much later that I realized the depth of I Can't Sleep Unless I Hear You Breathing. Listen to a sample below - the song "Crawl" is the album's solar plexus. An accelerating anthem of understated pop with spaced out guitars that evolve into crash and burn emoting, handclaps, and dueling solos. A thrilling four and a half minutes to be sure."
"...some of the most blistering rock you'll hear all year."Metromix
"While Man In Gray makes an engaging listen, it doesn't make good driving music. Their keen use of dynamics lends to erratic acceleration and unexpected slowing that, while difficult to perceive from the driver's seat, draws the attention of law enforcement and the ire of fellow commuters. It's a propellant brand of indie punk (formerly known as alternative/post punk/pomo/ shut it.) The prepubescent absence of fuzz coupled with an advanced species of chords brings to mind Television. Clean, cool, ovular guitar lines delivered by someone who obviously knows their way around a fretboard, but refuses to showboat. They do like the wall of sound scrubbing, but with the reverb knocked off. Drummer Jeremiah McVay isn't averse to toms, (yay) nor afraid to rush when required. (hoo-ray)
The ebullient Christina DaCosta sings, shouts and screams with massive personality, moving from innocent waif to crazy drunken girlfriend with the ease of The Avengers' Penelope Houston. The title track lifts discordant boy/girl harmonies from X. Everything is presented empathetically with an accessible artiness - the kind that makes you want to make art yourself, not make the scene sipping cosmos (or whatever the current haughty girly drink is.)"
-Ewan Wadharmi, Hybrid Magazine
"Man in Gray is a gritty, dancey local rock quintet driven by vocalist Tina DaCosta’s impressively forceful and melodic delivery. The quintet has honed quite the rollicking live show over the past few years, and it’s managed to capture that energy on its album, I Can’t Sleep Unless I Hear You Breathing.
- Time Out New York