In the world of music, progress can be a tricky thing. Usually, a band gets noticed for coming up with a particular sound, and then are expected to either pursue that sound and satiate their fans’ appetite for said sound, or they can try and venture in to new, unexplored musical territory. The Men of course have chose to pursue the latter, as they almost sound like a completely different band from the noisy punks on 2011’s Leave Home. I’m sure this could be upsetting for someone that got into the band for that album, but I was more drawn to The Men on last year’s genre-hopping Open Your Heart. And now that I think of it, my favorite track from that album was the country-tinged ballad “Candy”, so I have no problem with how New Moon infuses a bit more of that twang in to The Men’s messy brand of rock.
It’s weird that I had kind of an averse reaction to this album’s down-home sound on first listen, as my initial thought was, “whoah, these guys went too country. Where is the rock?” But as I listen to it more and more, New Moon seems less country, and more and more like it’s indebted to the classic rock sounds of artists like CCR and Tom Petty. There are also still a few songs on the album that still have that noisy punk rock vibe, such as the energetic single “Electric”, it’s just that these songs contain a bit more craft, and are more, well songs, than the sloppy jams of their earlier albums.
I think because The Men often rock so hard and expel so much energy, it usually seems extra poignant and justified when they slow down a bit, which is exemplified by my favorite track on New Moon, the blissfully world-weary “Bird Song”. However, it doesn’t seem that The Men have any intention of slowing down in terms of putting out new material, since in a recent interview they had stated that they were already planning on recording another album to be released next year. Yup, that’s five albums in five years. Now that’s the kind of work ethic I can get behind.
Favorite Tracks: “The Seeds”, “Electric”, “Bird Song”