The Men | Open Your Heart

Sacred Bones (2011)
By LIZ PELLY  |  March 21, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

men-1
Too often, punk purists devalue artful content in favor of remaining true to die-hard DIY politics or ideological messaging. So in that sense, the Men — a four-piece post-punk band that began playing Brooklyn basements and national self-booked tours in 2008 — have accomplished a feat, reaffirming the value of sonic innovations in a genre often preoccupied with maintaining a certain ethos. Mixing elements of punk, psych, shoegaze, hardcore and, at times, pop and Americana, Open Your Heart is the band's second album for the exceptional Sacred Bones label, following 2011's Leave Home and a string of self-released demo tapes and LPs. With its genre-bending sensibilities, Open Your Heart sees 10 tracks teeter into different textures and time signatures, from the seven-minute spacey psych-punk instrumental jam "Oscillation" to the melodic thrash and big-rock riffs of "Animal." The guitars and vocals sound most shoegaze-inspired on "Please Don't Go Away" and most twangy on "Country Song." In that context, the record's more poppy moments ("Open Your Heart," "Candy") act like psychological breathers. One of the more interesting rock albums in recent memory.
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