The Men - Drift

by Jack Kiser Rating:6 Release Date:2018-03-02
The Men - Drift
The Men - Drift

The Men return from their brief hiatus demonstrating their desire to counterattack, with their 7th studio album, courtesy of Sacred Bones Records. With the entirety of the project being fairly minimalistic, only a number of tracks pack a punch. It seems rather uncharacteristic for a Men album to feel less confrontational and more experimental, however the ever changing social climate is moving far too quickly for comfort. This eclectic collection of Brooklyn instigators are no stranger to churning out workhorse loads of volume, however, this project feels oddly hesitant.

It is one of my personal idiosyncrasies in writing not to reveal any form of subjectivity in relation to the topic, however, I must break this rule now. The Men’s sheer raucous demeanor and New York style of play is gathered and well-orchestrated no matter where you go to see it. My drag for their rackety, hell bound allure is so enticing to me. The formation in 2008 all the way up to their second album, Leave Home, left me without a jaw, aimlessly salivating that this band could be the next noise rock act to follow. The next two years to follow were unsurprisingly more fruitful after gaining extraordinary critical acclaim on Open Your Heart and Tomorrow’s Hits. These two albums visibly demonstrated that their music IQ was apparent and that their passion for experimentation was unfolding. Their rocking teeter between various subgenres of rock was recognized, but the band continued to progress on their flavorful hooks and style. A short self-released record later, Devil Music rekindled the feverishly flickering light of their noise rock roots. Perhaps, this independent release, free from Sacred Bones, contained the alluring comfortability of bullish feedback that they missed so dearly. Their journey now brings us here.

From the beginning, Drift looked like a comeback record for the Men. After a terse hell-ridden 34 minute self-release, it seemed the cards were set to make a vigorous re-entrance. It disappoints me to say that many of the project’s potential selling points, appear unappetizing and flat. The first track and single “Maybe I’m Crazy” presented glimpses of stride with squealing sax and knuckle cracking synths over an anticipatory percussion line. “When I Held You in my Arms” is a Todd Rundgren acid dream that also strangely feels like a long lost Brothers song (get it?) Their experimentation with 70’s themed rock shouldn’t go unnoticed because “Secret Light” has Ray Manzarek all over it. Other intricate highlights from this project come from “Rose on Top of the World” establishing a Spanish tango guitar over Buffalo Springfield flavored compositions and “Killed Someone” gave many old Men fans a reason to be relieved. “Killed Someone” was what many of us were hoping for in an album, but were forced to savor this only track. The vengeance of Mark Perro’s vocals and the deadened aura surrounding Chiericozzi’s guitar are charmingly bellicose and bleed over from their most recent work. Finally, ending (second to last track) with ”Final Prayer,” more hints of Doors influence reveal themselves, shifting to a haunting ode similar to “The End.” Heavily reverbed guitar and spoken word background vocals bring a Jim Morrison ghost back from the grave on this hazy graveyard track.

With all this being said, we are still talking about the Men here. After rounding the corner of a decade’s worth of performing, recording, and promoting, I feel confident in saying that this album will only be a minor dip in the success of their others. It is noteworthy and encouraged for bands of their indie clout and stature to drop more experimental efforts, but a devil’s roulette is put into play. While it pains me in every way to say that Drift fell short, it has to be said. For their next stage, however, we should learn not to expect anything from the Men.

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