Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ALBUM REVIEW: The Men - Open Your Heart

By Josh Custodio

I was reading an article the other day about how 2011 may have been the worst year in rock music in a very long time. The Men may single-handedly make sure that cannot be the case for 2012. Open Your Heart is a kick in the ass, a relentess romp, all grounded in pretty classic punk and rock influences. Coming off the heels of 2011's Leave Home, The Men opted to go for a more straightforward and loud vision on Open Your Heart. This is their coming out party.

What a party it is. This collection starts off with "Turn it Around," a riff monster with hooks all over the place. Other bands take note, this is how you do an opening track; it operates as a statement of whats to come for the next 46 minutes. In my case, this was an excellent statement, and I knew two minutes into this album that I was going to love it. The album follows up with first single "Animal," and the fun continues in the same vein. In order to avoid being a one-trick pony (à la Jeff the Brotherhood), The Men follow up with an instrumental called "Country Song." The twang and delay on the guitars made me initially think that the song title was tongue-in-cheek, but further country influence pops up later on the album, leading me to believe these guys actually have some love for the genre.

The album continues on, getting a bit more experimental on tracks like "Oscillation" and "Please Don't Go Away," but still stays rooted in the rocking they came here to do. Things only improve from here, with the title track, and album highlight "Candy." Open Your Heart is the recording of a band being absolute masters of their domains, being mixed by somebody who gets exactly what they are going for.

It's really interesting to me how much this band stands out from what I normally listen to. My indie tastes are generally synth or clean guitar-driven. How things have changed that a distorted guitar band sounds out of place on my playlists. It's hardly a bad thing, and this album really left me wanting to keep my headphones at 10 and pull out my old Clash albums. That's a great sign.

All in all, The Men have cranked out a fantastic album. During summer, this album will absolutely be on repeat at every BBQ I have. It is a standing testament to how much a clear vision can bring to the table. A band playing to their strengths is always a good thing, and that's exactly what The Men do here. But most of all, they're having fun. You will be too.

You can follow Josh on Twitter @_allmyfriends

No comments:

Post a Comment