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The Men - Open Your Heart (Cover Artwork)

The Men

The Men: Open Your HeartOpen Your Heart (2012)
Sacred Bones

Reviewer Rating: 4
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Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
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It seems odd that one of the punkest records of 2012 would open with a riff reminiscent of the Doobie Brothers' "China Grove," but it does. After that opening guitar lick, however, "Turn It Around" erupts into a full-blown '80s punk stomper in the spirit of Keith Morris-era Black Flag and announces .
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It seems odd that one of the punkest records of 2012 would open with a riff reminiscent of the Doobie Brothers' "China Grove," but it does. After that opening guitar lick, however, "Turn It Around" erupts into a full-blown '80s punk stomper in the spirit of Keith Morris-era Black Flag and announces that the Men's sophomore album, Open Your Heart, has arrived.

While the record is clearly a logical progression from last year's Leave Home, the record is overall less noisy and dissonant than its predecessor, leaving more room for the songs themselves to make their mark. Some of those tracks are downright weird, such as the nearly six-minute, reverb-drenched instrumental "Country Song" that segues nicely into "Oscillation," which somehow manages to be both droning and upbeat at the same time. "Cube" is one of the most aggressive tracks on the album, and contains a throbbing bass riff that recalls Goat-era Jesus Lizard. They're not afraid to employ non-traditional instrumentation (is that a steel guitar I hear on "Presence"?) either.

The Men have been never been shy about displaying their influences (Their last album was called Leave Home, for crying out loud) and that tradition carries over here. The main guitar riff of the title track is a dead ringer for Buzzcocks classic "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn'tve?)." Through melding their early punk rock influences with a willingness to experiment however, they've carved a unique little niche for themselves. You won't find many other records like this in 2012.

With Open Your Heart, the Men have crafted an album that refuses to be pigeonholed, yet remain completely, unabashedly, 100 percent punk rock. They are a breath of fresh air in a genre that can grow stagnant rather easily. The noisy garage influences of their past work are still, but they've grown by leaps and bounds. This is a band to watch.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
droote (August 21, 2013)

I loved Leave Home, and was a bit disappointed when I heard this record would be softer and more poppy. I was surprised to find that even though such a description is correct, the record was still great. Leave Home is still my favourite record by them, but they can jump between genres and styles of music without diminishing the quality. Usually when your favourite band changes their style of music you get disappointed, but I'm glad that The Men does that. They bring new and fresh content, but it is still good content.

Sliced-T (March 27, 2012)

It turns out this album is fantastic! The Men cannot be stopped!

enchanted_steel (March 10, 2012)

Thank you, Sketchyjoe. I was thinking the same thing but absolutely no one else has pointed it out on any review of this album I could find. I thought that riff sounded exactly like "Suspect Device".

This record is really good. That's my whole review of it.

saladfingers (March 9, 2012)

Super

Sliced-T (March 9, 2012)

I am super excited to hear this! I absolutely LOVED Leave Home.

Half_Idiot (March 9, 2012)

I got more of a Cheap Trick feel from "Turn It Around" than anything else. That sound could easily fit as a side opener to the "Live at Budokon" LP.

I was a bit disappointed that this was less harsh/schizo than "Leave Home" on first listen but I haven't been able to stop listening yet. It's kind of like they opened up "Our Band Could Be Your Life" to a random page and decided to write a song in that band's style but with their own tinges. "Candy" is total "Hootenanny" era 'Mats worship, "Ex-Dreams" is their tribute to J. Mascis, "Cube" has a bit of a Big Black twinge to the bass, so on and so on.

With this, The Mind Spiders, Disappears and Napalm Death all coming out within two weeks I already have 40% of my top ten of the year covered.

fretty (March 9, 2012)

Great album.

Also, this is their third album, not their second.

eatdogs (March 9, 2012)

man, i'm so glad you thought of the jesus lizard too. that band came to my mind often on their last album. just sheer nastyness.

r3vengetherapy (March 9, 2012)

Their best record so far. I think they have potential to do even better though, as long as they continue to evolve.

sketchyjoe (March 9, 2012)

If you hear that opening riff as Doobie Brothers rather than Stiff Little Fingers then you lose 25 punk points.

publichousing (March 9, 2012)

"Please Don't Go Away" is such an amazing song. This is the album to beat this year (so far).

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