Over their first three albums (the last two especially), The Men have proven they can perfectly fuse elements of punk-rock, shoegaze, and Sonic Youth-type noise-rock, creating a rather unique sound that's aggressive and hardcore yet dreamy and blissed-out at the same time. Those qualities are all present on 'New Moon,' but in slightly more laid-back form in general, with a heavy injection of country and folk that gives it more of a classic-rock, "Americana" vibe.
The overall sound here is one I'm tempted to describe as Dinosaur Jr. covering Neil Young & Crazy Horse, but that would sell the album more than a little short, although the latter is an obvious influence here as evidenced by the Young-esque, sloppily sublime noodling jams of both "I Saw Her Face" and the harmonica-laden "Bird Song." But there's a lot more going on here, such as the beautiful acoustic twang of "Open the Door" and "High and Lonesome," as well as the fuzzed-out walls of guitars on songs like the ferocious punk of "The Brass" and the epic, tripped-out headphone-journey closer, "Supermoon," with its insane intertwining guitar histrionics and drums that sound like they're being battered into the ground.
While there are no real negatives here, the album doesn't really have quite the intense thrills of 'Open Your Heart.' But it's more than made up for by the consistently stellar quality and the diverse range on display--musically, lyrically, and emotionally. It may not reach the same genre-defying heights as their last album, but it does further cement The Men's status of one of this decade's premier noisy garage-rockers, and it's amazing to me that a band can put out four albums in as many years while still sounding entirely fresh and original each time out. And I have a pretty strong feeling this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.