Best new release: The Men – ‘New Moon’
The latest relese by the Men, New Moon, starts with a country-style ballad. It’s not what you’d expect after last year’s burner Open Your Heart. But it prepares you for the other country-tinged songs on the album. Don’t get me wrong — this isn’t a country album. The Men blend a number of styles — garage, alt-country, punk. Though the album starts off with a slow song, it quickly picks up with Half Angel Half Light, an upbeat almost clasic rock number that reminds me of Tom Petty. The momentum continues through the next track, Without a Face.
My favorite song on the album is I Saw Her Face, a Neil Young and Crazy Horse-style rocker, which could have been the album’s climax. But two songs later, we’re treated to The Brass, an aggressive punky number that makes you realize New Moon sounds almost like a compilation rather than a cohesive album. Electric is another great anthemic number. At this point in the album, you’re thinking the focus has really shifted from country to punk. But then here comes another classic country-rock type number, Bird Song, followed by another catchy punk song, Freaky.
The story of this album has been told a few times already. These guys from Brooklyn took off to the Catskills to record the album in a cabin. That explains the country influence, right?
The album closes on the eight-minute long MC5 homage jam, New Moon. After listening a few times, I’m not sure that the jam holds up for the entire eight minutes. But this album, overall, holds up very well. It’s the best thing I’ve heard this year and it’s highly recommended.
These guys were previewing their recently released material as early as SXSW last year.
The Men play Chicago’s Lincoln Hall April 11.