Brooklyn’s The Men keep 2013’s garage rock torch blazing on their sophomore LP, New Moon. In recent days, the genre has witnessed a revival of sorts, with bands such as Parquet Courts, Criminal Hygiene, FIDLAR and The Orwells leading the pack. Aptly, the main difference between these bands and the Brooklyn act at the center of this discussion lies in the fact that The Men are grown-ups, and thus rely on grown-up influences and experiences in creating their music.
Some of these influences have proven to be more unexpected than others. Fans of The Men’s 2012 debut Open Your Heart might not even recognize the band until after New Moon’s sassy, southern-style opener “Open the Door.” Light, breezy and charming, the song evokes the sort of “tree-swaying” countryside that doesn’t exactly resemble Brooklyn (plus, I’ve never heard a Brooklynite pronounce guitar as “git-ar,” and I don’t think I ever will). Similarly, tunes like “Half Angel Half Light, “Without A Face” and “High and Lonesome” evoke the sort of brazen, down home spirit that permeates the entire album. The Men feature not one, not two, but three singers, which makes for an interestingly diverse, organic– almost rustic — listening experience.
Still, my favorite track on New Moon is “Electric,” simply because I’m a sucker for that hardcore, sweaty NYC dance floor sound (which “Electric” just happens to do so brilliantly). The single sits comfortably between the roaring metal-influence of “The Brass” and the slightly grungey, epic “I See No One.” On lengthy, monster-of-a-closer “Supermoon,” The Men get in touch with their inner beasts. As the countless influences, changes, and sheer passion displayed on New Moon come to a head, Mark Perro sings, “Hey faith, what are you gonna do? / I saw your power and I’m coming for you.”
New Moon proves that The Men have altered their raw, classic punk sound, but thankfully, they haven’t abandoned it completely. After all, a good sophomore album doesn’t replicate its predecessor, but builds upon the strength of its foundation. A great sophomore album goes even one step further, and it’s for that reason that fans of all genres will find something to love on New Moon, where The Men reach full maturity.
3.5 / 5 bars