Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Men, Open Your Heart, 2012

Sunday Run Album Review

I had a pretty happy childhood.  Got along well with my parents.  Still get along well with my parents.  I wasn’t one of the popular kids in school, but I wasn’t one of the outcasts either.  Just average.   My teen years went by relatively uneventfully, save for the normal, teenage stupidity that I like to believe afflicts everyone.  My grades were good.  I always had a job, and I even played football until my junior year of high school.  In other words, I never felt the need to rebel against anything.

It wasn’t until I got married, bought a house, had kids, and had a corporate job that I started to feel the need to really let off a little steam.  Yeah, The Clash, The Replacements, The Pogues, The Ramones were always there.  I went through a pretty heavy Mats phase, as a matter of fact, but that was all post Pleased to Meet Me really.  Something about today’s punk and lo-fi – music made by twenty-somethings – speaks to me on a level that I don’t think it’s really supposed to as a cooldad.

Today I went for a run with Brooklyn’s The Men.  Their latest is Open Your Heart, and I’ve officially placed it into heavy rotation.  They’re a big part of the recent punk revival that’s captured much of my attention as I seek out stuff, like running, to get my blood pumping.

On album opener “Turn It Around” and on “Animal,” an almost Stones-y twang complements the power chords.  “Oscillation,” “Please Don’t Go Away,” and “Ex-Dreams” make me think of shoegaze, especially the style of Yo La Tengo; though, I don’t picture The Men doing much shoegazing.  There is plenty of hard-driving punk rock to be found here, but this album is about much more than that.  Probably unsurprisingly for a cooldad, the Richards/Jagger (and Westerberg?)-inspired “Candy” may be my favorite track on the record.

Open Your Heart has a huge guitar sound.  The hardcore elements are all there, but The Men are obviously students of rock music from The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground up through My Bloody Valentine and Yo La Tengo to Fucked  Up.  It’s going to be fun going through their back catalog to see their evolution to this point.

I’ve got several multi-hour conference calls scheduled this week.  As each ends, I’ll be putting my headphones on to slog through the neighborhood as The Men help me work out my issues.

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