The Men have certainly proven that, if nothing else, no one can pin them down. The transformation from the noise-sputtered rock shards blistered all over Leave Home to more of a head on guitar rock approach on Open Your Heart may have seemed a natural progression, but who thought three years back that the band would feature acoustic strums and lap steel so prominently down the road? New Moon is most certainly a new phase for the band; and following a locational pick-up to upstate New York to record in a cabin fraught with technical limitations and secluded from influence, the band seems to have honed in on their disparate passions and ground them into the fibers at the core of the album. Its creation also seems to have brought out the most classic minded songwriting instincts in the band. Though while the album has ties in the classic rock traditions, its not exactly evocative of those 70s rock records dotting your collection so much as how they were made.
Much of this rides on the shoulders of producer Ben Greenberg, who has joined the band's fold to play bass and shape the many faces of New Moon into a cohesive stew of sweat and breeze and charred embers of sound. Its emotional shifts are molded by Greenberg into a push-pull aesthetic that doesn't suffer boredom and gives relief to the noiseniks in their fanbase while knowing just when to cool off the amps. The record is not the one I'd have expected, but then I've learned not to expect things of The Men, a band that treats membership with an egalitarian openness that borders on mantra. Everyone gets their turn at the songwriting block and everyone's desires seem to mesh into a wooded grove of sunny strummers and power plugged rockers that get to the core of rock as a form and winds up nailing the balance of old and new in 2013.
[MP3] The Men - I Saw Her Face
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