For all intents and purposes, Brooklyn’s The Men are a punk band. They can get loud ‘n’ fast to be sure, and no strangers to throwin’ in a few good screams here and there. But for The Men, punk is but a blank canvas on which they toss, Jackson Pollack-like, splashes of psych, noisy post-punk, prog, classic rock, and, now, even a bit of country and folk-rock.
The band formed in 2008, but they didn’t put out a full-length until 2010’s Immaculada. It’s an ultra-lo-fi record with a side-one that’s more squealing feedback than actual songs. When you wade through the noise, you’ll find it’s for art’s, rather than its own, sake. By the end, the chaos yields to songs that are lo-fi and plenty heavy, but also plenty tuneful. They expanded their sonic even further on their 2011 sophomore effort Leave Home and 2012’s critically-acclaimed Open Your Heart.
Now it’s 2013, and once more The Men have some surprises up their sleeves. A tinkling piano and a gently swinging acoustic greets listeners on the first track of their latest album New Moon (out March 5 on Sacred Bones Records). It’s a left-turn, but not an unexpected one. There’s common DNA between even the most hardcore tunes on Leave Home, the out-there art rock on Immaculada and New Moon‘s Crazyhorse-esque “I Saw Her Face.” The skronking solo The Men unleash on “I Saw Her Face” would be just at home with a wall of punky feedback behind it as it would be in the middle of “Cortez the Killer.” The Men consistently push the boundaries of what it means to be a quote-unquote “punk” band, and that’s probably makes them 100 times more punk than all the dudes in studs and leathers.