Salty dogs

The wide wake of Victory at Sea
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  January 3, 2008

0810013_vict_main
Victory at Sea

Reflect on a band like Victory at Sea and the ocean metaphors roll in. They were timeless and powerful, comforting and familiar. In performance, their songs often surged past their own limits, sweeping up unprepared listeners. And, like other waves, they gently crashed, fanned out, and vanished without fanfare. But if the sea inspires one thing, it’s nostalgia, and after a dozen or so years of Victory at Sea’s producing songs that were stark and stormy, gloomy and aglow with hope, songs that couldn’t be mistaken for anyone else’s, it would be easy to dote on what once was and would be no more.

No need for that. This is the new year — and nearly a full year has passed since V@S ran their course. In their wake comes a trio of upstart bands as different as each member, and as intriguing as you might expect.

We’ll begin with the Men. Yes, the Men. On a cold drippy night in Allston, the members of the Men are huddled in the kitchen of Mad Oak Studios, reading from a scrap of aluminum covered in Sharpie scrawls.

“Math Potatoes!” “Bitch Corrector!” “Glass Napkin!”

It’s a comprehensive and cherished studio archive of potentially awful band names. For the five men of the Men, the name came as easily as agreeing not to disagree on which one of them was “the Man.” This magnanimous display of unanimity is at the heart of the fivesome’s MO. Their songs have the spontaneous celebration of high-grade pop punk, but with the meticulous neatness of something more consciously crafted.

“It’s been different because we all met through this band,” says Dave Norton, long-time V@S drummer. “It’s like, ‘Hi, nice to meet you. I’m gonna go do my tracks now.’ ” Which isn’t to say these guys are all business, but there’s a palpable sense of mission in the air of the kitchen. At least, that’s what I hope that is.

Fronted by former Lost City Angel Chris Duggan, with Kevin Smith on guitar, Nick (“Nick-Nick”) Hayes on keys, and J.R. Roach (formerly of Sam Black Church) on bass, Man aren’t a quiet group, but neither are they a one-trick pop-punk pony. Dusty-sounding pianos give “Me Against the World” a dash of barroom grit, Norton’s smart drumming refrains from spasmodic wailing, and Duggan’s hard raspy holler keeps things from getting too pop.

For a band so new, their momentum is freaky. Their first show was a sold-out affair at the Middle East upstairs last fall; the second was a CMJ showcase at Union Pool in Brooklyn. Next month, they’ll finish tracking tunes at Mad Oak, and a full-length will be on the way.

Meanwhile, Victory at Sea founding multi-instrumentalist Mel Lederman, who’s been backing Thalia Zedek of late, has adopted a straightforward new performing name — M.G. Lederman. “I feel like I’ve been struck by lightning,” he says over the phone. He’s talking about being smitten with someone, and when I ask whether that means no more sad songs, he lets out a laugh. “I don’t know about that. I’ll find something to worry about.”

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Music Features , Culture and Lifestyle, Thalia Zedek, Mel Lederman,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MICHAEL BRODEUR
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FOLK ACT  |  June 26, 2010
    Vikesh Kapoor
  •   BOSTON PRIDE WEEK: OFF THE MAP  |  June 07, 2010
    We may seem a little cranky, but us local gayfolk just love a parade, and we’re actually heartened by this annual influx of brothers and sisters from every state of New England and every letter of our ever-expanding acronym.  
  •   THE NEW GAY BARS  |  June 02, 2010
    If I may channel the late, great Estelle Getty for a moment: picture it, Provincetown, 2009, a dashing young man with no discernible tan and an iffy T-Mobile signal languishes bored upon the sprawling patio of the Boatslip Resort.
  •   ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI | BEFORE TODAY  |  June 01, 2010
    If the gradual polishing of Ariel Pink’s sound — and it’s not all that much more polished — puts his loyalists at odds with his albums, I count that as good news.
  •   MORE THAN HUMAN  |  May 26, 2010
    It’s hard to talk about Janelle Monáe when your jaw’s fallen off.

 See all articles by: MICHAEL BRODEUR