Friday, January 20, 2017

Belated obsessions: The Men - New Moon (2013)

Hoping to maybe write about more albums that have "matured" inside me years after their initial release (because this is something that happens to me from time to time) in the future, I thought I'd make the start with The Men's masterpiece from 2013. The band from Brooklyn, having started to be discographically active since 2008, released their debut full-length Immaculada (2010) which sure earned them a certain distinction among the scene of the time. And this distinction was because of a unique way they had of blending garage rock with '70s punk and post-hardcore, while adding some noise elements of their own. Always an interesting band, but they never monopolized my interest in a really special way. Knowing of their existence, I always knew they were there, and when I came across tracks of theirs from time to time, I always thought "this is an OK band" and that was it.

Until last year when (I don't really remember why or how) I started listening to New Moon which was lurking in my hard drive for a couple of years. The sweet and mellow melody of the opener "Open the Door" caught my attention and the first thought on my mind was "hey hm yeah these guys are usually unpredictable, this is probably just an intro or something". But with track 2 "Half Angel Half Light" I started thinking that we probably have something special here after all. Going through to the end of the album, I wanted more. I pushed play again. And again, and again. I think this is as much as you need if you'ew going to realize that this is not a common album.

The Men, in New Moon, sounded like a slightly different band from how I remembered them or from the idea I had about them. Here, we have a maturity that is usually carried by a band that has conquered its influences, has set its musical limits with a defining certainty, and now feels comfortable to wander anywhere its mood tells it to. New Moon is considerably softer than its predecessors, increasing the use of acoustic instruments and decreasing the noise elements (although they are not totally absent). The final result is warm but also bitter, melodic but also dark, soft but also harsh. From the nostalgic harmonica in "Bird Song" to the unstoppable pounding of "the Brass", and from the melancholic melody of "I See No One" to "Supermoon"'s noisy psychedelic outbreak, this is a record that can stand the test of time as it clearly is a depiction of the creators' psyche, nothing more and nothing less. Have a taste.

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