CD Review – New Moon, The Men


themen newmoonBrooklyn’s favourite noise-rock/post-punk/rock band, The Men, can be best summarized by the descriptor “workmanlike”. This is their fourth full-length since 2010, but it is likely to be (and, from what I’ve gauged across the internet, is) their most divisive release yet.

This is The Men’s “folk-rock” record, wherein, in true pastoral tradition, the boys decamped to Big Indian, NY to turn off iPhones, soul-search, play campfire guitar, engage in Neil Young idol worship, and incorporate four-part harmonies, mandolin, lap steel, piano, and harmonica into their palette – not exactly what the average noise-rock band decides to do to for LP number four.

Full disclosure here: I just spent the weekend downloading and listening to ’70s Neil Young & Crazy Horse bootlegs, so perhaps I’m in the demographic predisposed to adore this record, but, in my estimation, New Moon manages to satisfy the discerning rockist’s varied tastes. The album has a folksier flair, such as opener “Open the Door,” “The Seeds,” the yearning lap steel instrumental “High and Lonesome,” and the laid-back keyboard jam “Bird Song.” But, those who pine for The Men’s more aggressive incarnations can head-bang to the kinetic energy of “The Brass,” “Electric” and the chaotic guitar workout “Supermoon.” New Moon is a skillful and rewarding balance of both of the band’s tendencies–well-worn melody and no-input harsh noise.

Given The Men’s pace and general abandon, even if one is dissatisfied with New Moon, you will likely only have to wait another year or so for another full-length from the band, and luckily for them, the next LP is already finished. But, all that is not to say there’s not plenty to enjoy about New Moon.

Joel Blechinger

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