Working with Bat For Lashes producer David Kosten (aka Faultline), the recording of Man Alive was completed mainly in a chapel in North Wales. The album sounded unique. Nothing dates like the future, yet Man Alive sounds dateless, placeless, and as a result, stands up perfectly many years later.
Man Alive was only the beginning of the group's adventures in – to use their words – 'Mismatched styles of music mashed together.' The result is often exhilarating; there are Brazilian drums and a prog guitar breakdown in Schoolin', classical influences, as well. Its subject matter is often way outside the realms of conventional songwriting; MY KZ, UR BF explored the different Americas: the cosy self-centred domesticity of programmes such as Friends versus a foreign policy based on killing
The album's artwork was striking – a photograph of a fox by Swiss photographer, Laurent Geslin, reflecting the track Tin (The Manhole) which deals with the theme of depression, through, as the band said in 2010, "the story of an urban fox that ingests all our pollution and grows massively in a sort of dream sequence. We chose photos of an urban fox for this reason, but we partly attacked the code of the digital image to create a glitch distortion . . . a reference to digital manipulation and chaos as well as our modern lives online".
Released in August 2010, Man Alive made the UK Top 20 and was well reviewed. For example, BBC Music commented that the group "know more than most how to craft a song, how to make an album. They know how to give it depth, light and dark, and they – crucially – know when to stop." Man Alive was shortlisted for the 20th Mercury Music Prize in 2011.
The original LP edition of the album is super-scarce, released before the 'vinyl revival' kicked in, hence the original pressing now selling in the high three figures.
For this 2023 deluxe edition of the album, a limited-edition double LP version has been compiled by the band featuring rarities, outtakes, works in progress and demos. Housed in a gatefold sleeve it comes complete with poster and an expanded 12 page booklet featuring a period photo collage and has been pressed on 140g vinyl.