Artist: The Men
Title: Tomorrow’s Hits
Record Label: Scared Bones
Prolific is a word bandied about frequently these days but when it comes to the work rate of The Men, no other word could epitomise these Brooklyn boys better. Five albums in as many years and a brace of EPs, do they ever sleep?! With such a fruitful output you’d expect the five piece’s quality control to be a bit flabby in places but on fifth outing, Tomorrow’s Hits, the NYCers still sound lean and vibrant. Ironically enough, the group’s latest work came about because they needed a break from relentless touring and recording. What does a band such as The Men do when they’re having a break? Carve out a new album of course. Having already completed fourth record, New Moon, Tomorrow’s Hits followed in its slipstream. Sonically, the two albums could have shared a womb, with New Moon taking a more alt-rock tinge, Tomorrow’s Hits contains nods to an Americana heart that’s more traditional USA than dysfunctional Generation X.
Renowned for being raw and slightly ramshackled, it’s something of a surprise that this latest document from The Men was laid down in a proper studio. The possibility of anything clinical being poured over the fivesome’s raw edges are quickly quashed by the charging opener ‘Dark Waltz’, it may not be a punky flecked barrage but guitars still appear ravaged and the element of guttural rock ‘n’ roll is still ubiquitous. However, the downplayed leanings hark back to alt-country vibes that are attributed to a jaunty piano line. Vocally too, Johnny Cash can be heard, Bob Dylan references can be made and perhaps even The Boss himself crops up for comparisons sake. Speaking of jaunty, The Men inject elements of brass and further key motifs for an upbeat stomper at the heart of the album that goes by the name of ‘Another Night’.
The Men have been tagged with a plethora of rock genres in their time – punk rock, post-hardcore, noise rock and post-punk to name a few. Such raucous leanings have been boiled down and preserved to be unleashed at key points on Tomorrow’s Hits. This is a well measured rock record of plaintive, reflective tunes like ‘Sleepless’ that again calls upon a piano to be its back bone. Equally, ‘Settle Me Down’s hazy demeanour conjures up images of sun soaked days and carefree moments. Nestled in perfectly to these vignettes of restraint is ‘Pearly Gates’, this is where The Men summon their inner Chuck Berry for a racing rock ‘n’ roll steam train indebted to ‘Johnny B. Goode’s quick-fire, wild rock ‘n’ roll. ‘Different Days’ and closing track ‘Going Down’ are cut from similar cloth, although they may not resurrect the connotation’s towards a musical great, they do however roar with untamed urgency played by a band that are obviously straddling through an abundant purple patch.
Words and Thought of Adam Williams