The Men - New York City Music Album Reviews

The Men - New York City Music Album Reviews
The Brooklyn band’s ninth album is an unpretentious garage-punk racket that wears its analog heart on flannel-clad sleeves.

The Men: Now there’s a band that knows how to self-mythologize. You might associate the punk four-piece with the Brooklyn music scene of the early 2010s, a world of 285 Kent gigs, Northside showcases, and the BrooklynVegan comments section. But they were always slotting themselves into an earlier classic-rock lineage—recording straight to tape; pushing out five albums in four years; naming their 2011 breakout album after a Ramones classic; going full Crazy Horse on their fourth and arguably best album, 2013’s New Moon. That album’s recording process (in a cabin in the Catskills, naturally) was immortalized by singer-guitarist Nick Chiericozzi in a liner-notes essay, the kind of grandiose reminiscence you’d expect to accompany a 30th-anniversary reissue. These guys knew they were onto something. 

The Men’s uber-prolific imperial phase came to a close with 2014’s Tomorrow’s Hits, but they’ve soldiered along since then, releasing a solid album every two years or so. These have vacillated between roaring throwbacks to the band’s shit-kicking punk roots (2016’s Devil Music) and rangier, mellower efforts that serve as eclectic samplers of their rustic influences (2018’s Drift, 2020’s Mercy). Within the opening seconds of the skittering, straight-ahead “Hard Livin’,” as Chiericozzi declares, “Hard times are over/Just because!” in a phlegm-caked growl, it’s clear that New York City leans towards the former category. 

The album’s backstory and title (come on—who besides Lou Reed and X has the nerve to name an album after their home city?) reflect the group’s knack for shamelessly blowing its own horn. As the story goes, founding members Chiericozzi and Mark Perro laid down an early iteration of New York City with a drum machine in 2020. Unhappy with the result, they went into a Brooklyn studio with bandmates Rich Samis (drums) and Kevin Faulkner (bass) and rerecorded live to 2" tape, favoring impromptu energy over multitrack perfectionism. 

To wit, New York City is the scuzziest the Men have sounded in years, an unpretentious garage-punk racket that wears its analog heart on its flannel-clad sleeves. On tunes like the hard-charging “Echo,” the guitars are in the red, the vocals are in the red, and even the drums thwack and wobble like a Times New Viking deep cut. The closest thing to a ballad is the minor-key dirge “Anyway I Find You,” which would have felt right at home on New Moon. Elsewhere, it’s a gaudy rock’n’roll album filled with gaudy rock’n’roll gestures, from the pair of throat-busting screams that open “Eye” to the wailing guitar solo in “Through the Night” that pans back and forth between stereo channels with all the subtlety of a Spinal Tap goof.

Yet this is hardly a return to the corrosive post-hardcore of Leave Home. As raw and blown-out as New York City may sound, it retains the melodic sensibility the Men have spent the past decade refining; uptempo rave-ups like “Peace of Mind” and “Eternal Recurrence” draw more from the boozy well of ’70s rockers like Thin Lizzy and Cheap Trick than a no-wave punk lineage. Even the record’s weaker moments—looking at you, “God Bless the USA,” a Chuck Berry-powered 12-bar protest-rocker with a limp Putin name-check—slot right in with the modern-day dudes-rock canon of White Reaper and Japandroids. The songwriting is often brash and undercooked, but the album’s sheer boisterousness is a joy. 

Why’s the album called New York City? Who knows. I suppose the Men are a New York institution at this point (what’s more NYC than recording your best album upstate?). But New York City is less a reflection of the sanitized, hyper-gentrified New York of today than a reaction against it—sneering from the paint-peeling dive bars, flipping off the real-estate vultures, and summoning the snottiest ghosts of the city’s punk past.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The Men - New York City Music Album Reviews The Men - New York City Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 13, 2023 Rating: 5


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