Review: The Men – Open Your Heart

It’s funny how this all works out. In an effort to listen to as many of the best albums of 2011, I pretty much spent the entire month of November scouring reviews and early best of lists so I would have an informed opinion. While searching, I came upon The Men and their album Leave Home . It was an amazing blur of guitars and dirt. I didn’t realize they had a follow up planned so soon, but here we are.

Here is what I find interesting about The Men. They could settle for being a punk band, or a hard rock band, or a metal band, but they don’t. There are quick tracks which highlight the fuzzy guitars like “Turn It Around” and “Animal”, but they follow those with a near six minute grainy guitar instrumental opus “Country Song”, then a seven minute near prog rock follow up.

They alternate between black rock sounds and poppier sounds, but the crushing guitars seem to be the glue that holds each track. If you’re into rock instrumentals, this album has plenty. And the songs that have lyrics all as gruff and grimy as the music they bed. There is a growl and a whine, but never what you would call a classic singing voice.

I was surprised the first time I heard The Men, and surprised to find a new album from them. I was also surprised to see they were playing in Iowa City…this past Tuesday. So, I missed it, but I hope all who went had fun. If you did miss them, get a copy of both of their newest albums and enjoy.

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