- Audio CD (18 July 2014)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Republic of Music
- ASIN: B006WAF14M
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,416 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
OPEN YOUR HEART
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Leave Home (SBR-057) was Mojo s Underground Album of the Month Dec. 2011. Leave Home was featured on Spin s Best of 2011 list and a print feature is confirmed for March 2012 issue. The Men have done 2 full US tours, 2 EU tours, and plan to be on the road all of 2012 in support of this release including stops at Primavera & London Field Day. For fans of Hüsker Dü, The Replacements, Loop, Gram Parsons, Silver Apples. Ironically referred to by Timeout NY as Thurston Moore & the E Street Band, The Men have never been a band to play by categorical punk subgenre rules. Instead, over the last three years, this band has dabbled in everything from hardcore punk to psych to shoegaze to black metal; and they have done all of it effortlessly, and for the most part, flawlessly. Totally removed from the current climate of a.d.d-youtube-blog-hyped generation of musicians under 21, The Men stand out from the pack as both scene elders and actual record collectors. What makes this band so unique is their ability to synthesize their influences rather than just regurgitate them. On Open Your Heart, the band s 3rd full length, the NY quartet explore twangy country music, guitar solos, surf-ish riffs, psych, and just about everything in between. Erring on the side of literal as opposed to ironic, the song titles here ( Oscillation , Country Song , Ex-Dreams, etc.) blatantly celebrate the band s you get what you pay for diy aesthetic. Beyond their genre defying writing experiments, some of the band s finest singles to date are on this record; Open Your Heart, Please Don t Go Away, and Candy all demonstrate a new pop sensibility that previous albums only hinted at. Additionally, having four songwriters in the band lends itself to a truly unpredictable and thrilling live experience. With Open Your Heart, The Men embrace what is truly their calling, and flower into the fully diversified punk band their fans have always championed them for being. Attention! Value Adds : CD comes with limited edition live bonus album recorded on WFM U (while supplies last). LPs are hand silkscreened and come w/ digital download of entire album plus the WFM U disc.
Most artists think about things like cohesion and balance when putting an album together. The Men, instead, do whatever the hell they want. Just try to follow the twists and turns in this head-spinning synopsis of third album, Open Your Heart, and you’ll understand…
After the punk-rock romps of the two openers, Turn It Around and Animal, there’s a five-minute wandering thing called Country Song, which segues into Oscillation – a slow-building patina of samey guitars and propulsive percussion that only deigns to include vocals (spoken word) at the five-minute mark, before pushing on for two more minutes. Then we’re into washed-out shoegaze-with-a-dash-of-Sonic-Youth territory in Please Don’t Go Away, followed by the title-track’s fond nod to (okay, rip-off of) the Buzzcocks’ Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve). Ants still very much in pants, they next try on a plodding, melodic Rolling Stones-esque country blues for Candy; then there’s the Black Sabbath head-banger Cube; another seven-minute, string-bending slow-burner in Presence; before we finish with the Trail of Dead-style bullet train that is Ex-Dreams.
What to make of this meandering patchwork? It should be incredibly frustrating. It should be a chaotic, disjointed mess. Somehow, though, it works. It’s difficult to explain why, but these tracks do hang together well. Perhaps it’s because they share the same soul.
There’s a disarming carelessness at the heart of Brooklyn-based The Men, a kind of primal nihilism that allows them to get carried away, and which carries away the listener. On Animal, they scream ferociously about being, well, animals – barely discernible howls of "give it to me" and "gimme a kiss" rising out of the mess as it hurtles full-tilt towards the climax – and it about sums the band up. They’re following their gut, doing what feels right. It’s an unbeatably rock’n’roll attitude, but unconsciously so, because if they were trying to cultivate an ‘image’ they’d surely expel the slower droning numbers that (happily) distract from their raw elements.
All in all, rather than insolently demanding your attention as most rock albums do, Open Your Heart possesses a wonderfully self-indulgent, insular quality. It’s not made for you but for them, you see, which makes for a surprisingly entertaining interior world, a place to get lost in.
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Following on from the uber intelligent hardcore of last years brilliant "David Comes to Life" by Fxxked Up, we again have a band prepared to mix an acute pop sensibility with diamond hard riffs. The albums opener "Turn it around" is Exhibit A in this respect showing how effective testosterone fuelled rock music should be done. As vocalist Nick Chiericozzi declares that he "wants to hear you write a love song," you pause to wonder why he doesn't practice what he preaches but move on quickly. All in all "Open your heart" is a tremendous album which forcefully bludgeons its way into you affections, it is raw power revisited and jammed packed with piledriver arrogance.
Shorter songs can be traced back. "Animal" in its spareness reminds me of Feedtime, a little-known Australian blues-punk trio from the '80s (See my review of their "The Aberrant Years.") "Please Don't Go Away" loads on the layers, as if a fast shoegazing tune.
"Open Your Heart" could fit into American college rock from the early Dinosaur Jr. era, or the Replacements. "Cube" pushes towards a hardcore style, tinged with poppier touches, as those same bands once delivered. "Country Song" uses effects to sustain its guitar, and this textural experimentation shows a movement towards structure that may bode well for future albums. "Ex-Dreams" closes the album in similar fashion--the longer songs take time to experiment for a few seconds to their benefit--blending however the Krautrock with a Sonic Youth-filtered "Daydream Nation" vintage vocal mood.
Speaking of longer songs, the appeal of the Brooklyn (of course) band's style deepened for me as it was for the original punks by nods to Krautrock, as in the longer songs such as "Oscillation." I'm a sucker for Krautrock, I admit. "Presence" does this with more of a Spacemen 3 or Loop hint, an obsessive build-up akin to another band who returns to such sounds, Oneida.
"Candy" apes a countrified or fried Mick Jagger too much for me. Still, even as the weakest track, it's not awful. These days, such qualifies for praise in a music scene where such bands as The Men mash together the best of their record collections. It's fun for those of us who had been there, heard that, and it may blend in well with a mixtape of their inspirations. (I also reviewed their earlier album, "Leave Home," which is rawer, fuzz-driven, and bolder.)
Your Heart" is consistently weird and inspired. Oh, and did I say unpredictable? You get:
machine gun blasts of ripping pop-punk guitar noise / country psychedelic instrumental
atmospheric twang / building, loping, post-punk Krautrock with a West Coast hippy twist / soaring
shots of fast-paced shoegaze power pop / high speed staccato punk rock / straight-up country
rock-pop / slow-building choral-drone psych rock / cranked-up wails of high energy wah-wah
guitar drone party rock and more. Recalls bands like Husker Du, Buzzcocks, Negative Trend,
Cave, Sonic Youth, Human Eye, Led Zeppelin, Rocket From the Crypt, Neu! A power-packed,
brilliantly diverse and challenging album.