The Men: New Moon
New Moon is The Men’s fourth album in four years. In that brief time they’ve had a shift in musical style almost as extreme as The Beatles’. Except their “Oh Yoko!” is a blast of noise-punk. On their third album, Open Your Heart, The Men began their move away from punk/hardcore and played around with different styles and writing accessible songs. With New Moon, they’ve taken the logical next step. There’s still a healthy amount of post-punk, particularly in the production, but the songwriting is almost conventional. They’ve clearly been listening to a bunch of classic rock and country and then tried to reinterpret it in their own way. On many tracks this works like a charm. “The Seeds” is awesome country-blues that could only have happened in a universe where Joy Division already exists. That track is followed by the fantastic “I Saw Her Face,” which perfectly combines all of The Men’s influences and caps off the album’s excellent first half. Elsewhere, the band plays fairly straight forward punk (“The Brass,” “Electric”) or sound like a better-than-average Tom Petty (“Without a Face,” “Bird Song”). While it may not be as exciting as Open Your Heart, New Moon is an overall tighter album and shows a band trying to branch out and not be pigeon-holed; and doing it successfully. It’s not quite their Revolver, but it kept me interested.