Man at Arms makes music that has been called "The most masculine thing I've ever heard," "articulate" and "like Primus" (which they sympathize with, but are reluctant to understand). A gracious critic once wrote of them: "Fuck you America, this is what you should be listening to."
The band's first full-length album A Waste of Time and Space (coming after of the Being and Commerce EP recorded for Friction Records, and a rather remarkable split with Abner Trio) manages to simultaneously capture the essence of the band's raucous live sound with more polish than any of its previous efforts. Expanding in all directions, the band continues in its musical explorations of repetition, concision, dynamic shifts and stagnancy. Where the spindly riffs and propellant drumming of tracks like "Title Track," "The Trial" and "Everything is Getting Better/Worse" are reminiscent of the band's patented sound, Man at Arms stretches out to include near-danceable break beats on "Borrowed Tongues" and "Don't Say" and shrinks down to focus on a few monotonous phrases on "Swamp Things," "Urine: The Picture" and "What's On?"
While far from being a concept album, the songs' lyrical themes span the spectrum from the universe's beginnings ("Swamp Things") to its impending endlessness ("Telescope") and time travel ("Stranded in the Future"), with a heavy visit to post-modern frivolity and its psychic defense mechanisms.
Heavy-handed as this all may sound, you can rest assured that it also is, but also is not. What we mean to say is that beyond all of the cosmo/music-ology this album contains, it is still fucking punk rock. And therefore a lot of fun to listen to.