The Men had a video interview with Pitchfork last year that I watched. I absolutely loved 2012’s Open Your Heart (you can tell; I rated it as my album of the year), and I wanted to find out a bit more about the group. All I really remember from the interview is the band making very clear that they don’t want to be pinned down by any genre labels.
New Moon is an obvious response to that, as every album that the group releases is starkly different from the last. At this point, it almost seems that The Men are trying to alienate their original fanbase.
The Men have released an album in each of their four years of existence. In 2010, Immaculada was noisy as all get out, and even had some black metal influences. In 2011, Leave Home, an album that I couldn’t get into at all, was more of a pure noise/post-hardcore hybrid. Open Your Heart was an eclectic album. It was more of a garage rock record, but had some country to it (“Country Song” isn’t a great example of this, surprisingly) and was a bit more melodic. “New Song” goes even further in that direction. The vocals are a bit too clean for a proper Meat Puppets comparison, but you can see where I’m going with this.
The album is a true grower. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first. But today, when “Open the Door” started the album, I asked myself where the opening melody had been stolen from. Then I realized it wasn’t stolen at all; it was just a really good melody that had creeped into the back of my head, and by that point, I recognized it. The first few songs on the album are actually all very strong, supported by more of these melodies and some catchy hooks. The guitarwork throughout the album is fantastic, of course. Drummer Rich Samis isn’t let loose as he was in the past, but he does an admirable job.
New Moon truly does seem to be catching ire from the punk fanboys. Sorry, punk fanboys. The Men don’t seem to care about appeasing you. Sure, there are some moments of pure jamming thrown in (the 8-minute closer is a perfect example), but this is a band that wants to try new things. And while this may not be anyone’s favorite album from the group, it’s still pretty good.