The Men – Drift

Formed in 2008, The Men are one of those New York bands who just keep up their hard working ethic with every release, gradually gaining more admirers each time around, yet without necessarily having any massive singles. That’s not to say they don’t have amazingly catchy songs in their back catalogue as they’ve got them by the bucket load. They’re just ones of those bands that those who know about them love, and those who don’t know about them yet don’t know what they’re missing.

Their last album 2016’s ‘Devil Music’ veered away from the more guitar led fayre of the previous five albums, and kicking off their seventh album Drift, opening song ‘Maybe I’m Crazy’, continues in the same more experimental vein. It’s dark, menacing riffs and pounding drums match the psychotic urgency in Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi’s vocals, with wailing saxophone bursts adding to the brooding undercurrent. ‘When I Held You In My Arms’ is the polar opposite of that, with a more gentle pace, capturing the essence of a Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds ballad – beautiful but still with traces of darkness, as its slow building melody and delicate piano lines weave in and out of proceedings. It’s as if The Men have thrown everything they’ve got into creating this album, with saxophones, harmonicas, slide guitars and pianos all being given the freedom to enhance the overall sound. Although it runs the risk of being a disjointed affair, they manage to maintain some sort of distinctive sound that’s all their own even when they leap from the acoustic sounds of ‘Sleep ‘ and ‘Come To Me’ both of which slowly build up to epic proportions, contrasting with the full-on distortion attack of ‘Killed Someone’ which has more in common with Husker Du.

They might sound like a completely different band from the ones I fell in love with in 2012, but the song writing is sheer class, with The Men branching out away from the more ‘indie’ guitar led sound, into one which uses more careful instrumentation. The sheer amount of variation going on within this album, makes it an intriguing listen, and maybe not as immediately infectious as their earlier releases, it has a charm and brilliance all of its own. They’ve moved up a gear in the song writing stakes and ‘Drift’ is another fantastic release by these underrated musical kings of New York.

Release Date 02/03/2018 (Sacred Bones Records)

The Men Official | Bandcamp

From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.