Artist: The Men
Record Label: Sacred Bones Records
“That’s no moon. It’s a space station”, Obi-Wan Kenobi once said when first gazing upon the Death Star in Star Wars: The New Hope. While The Men’s fourth record, New Moon is hardly a planet destroyer it can be a deceptive beast at times. Planting themselves somewhere between dusty ol’ college rock and unrelenting post punk, the four piece probably couldn’t obliterate Alderaan but they would definitely give it their best shot.
Dialing into New Moon is like positioning yourself between two bands who share one practice space, one group happy to produce jaunty nuggets of barroom rock and the other hell bent on pushing their instruments to the limit. This may seem like New Moon is a directionless mess, however this dual approach to rock ‘n’ roll means The Men’s new record traverses many touch points across rock’s checkered past. ‘Open The Door’ and ‘Bird Song’ capture the quartet in a hazy mood, in some cases mournful but in other lights summery and laidback. Organ and harmonica parps drive alongside piano and four part harmonies to create refined and reflective missives. Then you have the more visceral, unchained side to The Men, when the roars of noise come into play with ‘The Brass’s punk rock fury and ‘I See No-One’s scratchy, raw delivery showing what happens when the band bear their unrelenting chops.
At times The Men can be seen to be reflective, as heard on ‘Half Angel Half Light’ “Where would I be if we hadn’t met” leaves a poignant tone in the air and ‘Without a Face’ finishes with “Everyone’s got something to prove” which crops up amongst the eruptions of shuddering noise
Everything on The Men’s fourth LP leads up to the album closer ‘Supermoon’, now band’s get your notebooks out, every album should finish like this, a sub eight minute epic of discordant noise on the right side of collapse. It’s almost like all the elements of the remaining eleven songs have assembled to generate this snarling post punk monster of a closing gambit.
“That’s no moon, it’s a new moon, a supermoon!” rewriting Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lines is probably sacrilege but the force is strong with The Men, it’s allowed.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams