This is a long overdue album review for a band called The Men, and although the band’s newest album came out in March titled, Open Your Heart, we feel it is important and our duty to provide our readers with knowledge of an amazing up-and-coming band no matter how late the album review may be, and they are on tour around the U.S.
They are a post punk Brooklyn band known for playing house shows in basements around New York City. If you happen to have watched a live recording of one of these shows, you will notice the overcrowding with over zealous people shoving their fellow fan-mates in pure excitement. They are also arguably one of the better bands on Sacred Bones Records.
Open Your Heart is a breath of fresh air and although The Men have a raw and gritty sound, it is incredibly appreciated during a time when music has been overly produced and synthesizers have dominated the mainstream. This sound transcends well on Open Your Heart with the opening track “Turn It Around” which showcases band members’ strengths as musicians with their rapid drum beats and impressive lead guitar. The album continues this momentum on “Animal” in which a steady drum solo precedes lead singer Mark Perro shouting, “I am the animal.”
The album then takes a break from the hard hitting tracks with “Please Don’t go Away” in which the band repeats this line over and over again making for a surprisingly emotional track. The versatility The Men provide in Open Your Heart speaks to the true talent of these musicians, making it obvious that they have little to prove allowing their music to speak true to who they are and allowing the listener to relax and reflect while simultaneously providing some heavy hitting-ass-kicking music.
Another track that represents this is, “Candy” a song that is incredibly reminiscent of a more serious Violent Femmes, in the best way possible. This is the moment where the band sets down their electric guitars and picks up an acoustic while Perro sings, “When was the last time you were able to take a breath?”, and professes the freedom of finally quitting a job that has long been holding you back.
We highly recommend this album to anyone looking to get back to the roots of what music used to be: unhinged, uncensored and free of bullying agents attempting to push a certain sound. The Men represent a scene that will hopefully grow, however, we pray that if it does continue to grow and spread, it does not change from the originality or the pure sweetness of a gritty, sweaty house show.
Bryan Flynn is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland where he studied English and American Studies. Living in Washington DC, he spends his nights behind a local bar, as well as works with a local arts space to book shows and bring people together through music and art.