Monday, March 24, 2014

The Men - Tomorrow's Hits - Red Vinyl

Sacred Bones (2014)

I find there to be something fascinating about The Men. The way they soldier on and change up their sound from record to record despite the pained cries of protest from the fans of their earlier releases is really remarkable. Whenever a new record by The Men comes out, I always see threads on vinyl collecting message boards about how "the new album totally sucks, man." It seams like The Men just don't care. And more power to them.

Tomorrow's Hits really elevates their game. While I still like the energy of their 2012 release Open Your Heart a bit more than the Springsteen style classic rock stylings of Tomorrow's Hits, I think it's worlds better than their last album New Moon. I found New Moon kind of disappointing, enough so that I didn't preorder the wacky, fancy version of the new record. Though I'm still OK with the fact that I don't have the expensive variant, I ended up liking Tomorrow's Hits way more than I expected.

The band is finding new ways to build their songs off of somewhat simple guitar riffs. It starts with a riff, that riff is repeated, but then the band layers dynamic rhythm, lead guitar background noodling, lead guitar solos, horns, catchy vocals, the list goes on. The songs come off seeming just crammed full of layers, but the original riff that everything is built on anchors the song so that all the other components don't steer the song into something absurd. In particular "Dark Waltz," Another Night" and "Pearly Gates" really exemplify this.

Despite the Men constantly reinventing themselves, they've managed to become a band I can count on. Even though New Moon wasn't my favorite record of theirs, they've come back and proven that they can take their music in new directions and still put out a great record.

The Men - "Pearly Gates":

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