Album Review: The Men - Open Your Heart

15 May 2012 | 6:15 pm | Chris Familton

...the album feels well-paced and balanced with both fury and meditation and it is that dynamic range that makes The Men such a fascinating and rewarding band.

The Men are a quartet out of Brooklyn that have quickly caught the attention of many with their no-frills take on post-punk and the fuzzed-out end of indie rock. Open Your Heart is their second album in as many years and sees them both refining and expanding their sound with excellent results.

From the outset The Men hit like a sledgehammer with an MC5-on-amphetamines explosion of chords and tumbling drums. It feels like a sonic breath of fresh air against all the overthought metal, faux punk and fey indie rock bands doing the rounds. The guitars peal off screeching notes, bending and colliding with each other, barely pausing for breath before they crash into the Fugazi sound of Animal. The combination of American post-punk (Fugazi, Sonic Youth), Buzzcocks-styled power pop, country rock and the psychedelic grunge of the Dinosaur Jr kind makes for a furious mix of styles that, though it sounds derivative, is imbued with so much energy and knife-edge attitude that it sounds exhilaratingly fresh. The title track buzzes with an aching chorus melody that you want to scream along to, while Candy encourages humming and whistling with its country strumming.

The Men also show on Open Your Heart that they have the ability to stretch a good idea into a slow burning, droning mantra on Presence, a song that could come straight off a Wooden Shjips record. At 45 minutes, the album feels well-paced and balanced with both fury and meditation and it is that dynamic range that makes The Men such a fascinating and rewarding band. Open your heart and treat your ears.