The Men Drift
After a stressful period of reinvention, the band frolics in greener grass, following its wandering muse wherever it leads.
just two years passed between the Men’s 2014 collection, Tomorrow’s Hits, and its development, Devil Music, yet it felt like 10. Up to that point, the Brooklyn band had kept up an angry rate of both yield and advancement. The five-collection extend from 2010’s Immaculada to Tomorrow’s Hits is straight up there with Sonic Youth’s 1980s keep running as far as catching a primordial punk band’s incremental change into a shrewd, melodically refined shake juggernaut. With each new record, the Men uncovered astonishing new qualities—krautrock rave-ups, gut-punching power-pop, agrarian balladry—that framed the establishment for the following one. However, while that triumphant streak was unquestionably an energizing thing for fans to see at the time, the persevering visiting that came about at last sapped the Men of their start.
In the wake of completing their Tomorrow’s Hits obligations, the band didn’t simply hit the delay catch, they completed an all out reboot. When they reemerged with Devil Music, they had both shed a pivotal part (bassist/maker Ben Greenberg) and surrendered their deliberately developed feeling of desire. Recorded over an end of the week and self-discharged without anyone else name, the scathing, wailing Devil Music delighted in lo-fi scuzz as though the past half decade never happened. The Men had relapsed once more into the band they used to be, at the same time, given all they had achieved then, that made them about unrecognizable.
As artist/guitarist Mark Perro would clarify, Devil Music was less a computed back-to-the-carport move than a rough response to the band’s imaginative stagnation. In a 2016 blog talk with, he uncovered Tomorrow’s Hits was entirely in the can as far back as 2012, however the matter of keeping the show out and about kept this once-anxious band from composing new material for a decent three years. “Anything I needed to state on [Devil Music] was extremely childish and really disappointed,” he stated, “however it demonstrates that music is a delightful thing, since now that I got some of those tunes out, I feel vastly improved.” And so on Drift, the Men skip in the greener grass that lies on the opposite side.
While the new collection denotes the band’s arrival to the Sacred Bones list after their DIY Devil Music discharge, it deceives no want to satisfy or expand upon the inheritance they once settled on that mark. (Moreover, their pared-down visiting agenda recommends a hesitance to return to their old street warrior ways.) Drift is the sound of a de-focused on band following its meandering dream wherever it leads, with apparently little worry for how the final products fit together. In that capacity, it is without a moment’s delay their most diverse record and their generally unpredictable.
Obviously, the Men’s prior collections weren’t missing for assortment, however every one of them seemed like a similar band attempting new things, with a characteristic rhythmic movement to their complex transformations. (For example, on 2012’s Open Your Heart, the battered nation shake of “Sweet” felt like a very much earned reversal after the fluff shot enthusiastic phlebotomy of “Kindly Don’t Go Away” and the title track.) But on Drift, the Men simply stable like a bundle of various, disconnected groups. What’s more, where they’ve generally flourished with the strain between their in-the-red overdrive and their unpleasant ‘n’ tumble tunefulness, on Drift, their forceful and available characteristics are strongly isolated.
So from one perspective, you have undercooked peculiarities like the goth-night stomper “Perhaps I’m Crazy,” a percolating cauldron of throbbing synths and no-wave sax screeches that is by all accounts working toward a brutal discharge that never comes, or the relentless motorik cruiser “Mystery Light,” which sounds precisely like Damo Suzuki extemporizing over “L.A. Lady.” And then you have the moderately aged Meat Puppets walk of “Ascended on Top of the World” and the Harvest Moon-sparkled “So High,” both delicate mid-rhythm people shake tunes that, even in light of the Men’s past rootsy temporary routes, are disarmingly refined and loose. They’re pretty melodies, yet a bit excessively windy, making it impossible to do the truly difficult work on a collection where the band’s exploratory driving forces outweigh their songcraft.
In that sense, Drift feels a great deal nearer in soul to Perro and bandmate Nick Chiericozzi’s Dream Police venture, where they workshopped a variety of thoughts outside the Men’s commotion/pop sweet spot (however Drift throws the circle pit a bone with the repetition punk rager “Executed Someone”). In its calmer minutes, Drift uncovers some unfamiliar domain for this band to attach: The Six Organs of Admittance-commendable interstitial “Rest” may time in at under three minutes, and the verses may just add up to rehashed mantras of its title, yet its mounting bedlam of acoustic motions and trembling strings is transfixing. The mesmerizing shutting song “Come to Me” additionally fortifies the thought that this band presumably has a quality neo-society record in them.
In their underlying run, the Men controlled through each style in the great shake and punk playbooks and aced them in five years level. After Devil Music demonstrated they can simply backpedal to wounding fundamentals when the temperament strikes, Drift is the sound of them attempting to make sense of what to do straightaway—and contrasted with the deranged concentration and power of past records, the band can sound strangely rudderless here. However, they can at present daze you with a radical reexamination. For this situation, it’s “The point at which I Held You in My Arms,” a Wurlitzer-smoothed, dull night-of-the-spirit song that’d be comfortable in the most dismal profundities of Nick Cave’s The Boatman’s Call. The tune uncovers an eagerness to extend not only their melodic vocabulary, but rather their passionate one also. This band has opened its heart previously, yet at no other time have the Men introduced such a clear, hopeless picture of a broken one.