Release Date: Nov 11, 2016
Record label: The Men
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Noise-Rock
Before Devil Music, Brooklyn noise punks The Men used to release an album every year, experimenting with folk and Americana, zipping through personnel changes and working out how to handle a higher musical profile after years of working at it. Following a deserved year-long break, they convened one weekend this January to bang out Devil Music, 34 bracing minutes of ragged punk rock that careens ahead with little regard for the handbrake or volume dial. This album will resonate with fans of fellow noisemakers Running and Pissed Jeans, and also those who loved The Men’s 2011 release, Leave Home.
The Men Return With Devil Music, A Primal, 34-Minute Gut-Punch Recorded Live During A Weekend In The Group's Practice Space. The Band Sounds Just At Home Hammering Away In A Loud Room With Oft-Improvised Lyrics, Mangled Guitar, And The Occasional Skronking Sax As It Did During The Blown-Out Classic Rock Of Its Last Two Efforts, New Moon And Tomorrow's Hits. .
After several acclaimed albums for Sacred Bones, Brooklyn post-punk group the Men return to self-releasing their music with their 2016 full-length, Devil Music. The album also marks their return to making noisy, aggressive punk rock rather than the mellower, more rootsy rock of their previous two albums and EP Campfire Songs, which delved into country and heartland rock influences. By and large, the ten tracks on Devil Music are fast, loud, and heavy, and they were all bashed out in the group's practice space over a single weekend.
The story of the Men goes something like this: In 2011, the Brooklyn four-piece, led by guitarists and singers Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi, release Leave Home on Sacred Bones, the band’s second and first widely-available LP. Its strangely inviting blend of post-hardcore, noise-metal and shoegaze is a shot in the arm to the genre. The band’s profile rises.
This is how Devil Music begins; not with a whimper but with a bang. We crash land in medias res, amongst The Men’s maelstrom of galloping guitar, cannibalistic cymbals and low-dubbed vocals. Opener ‘Dreamer’ invokes Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer – concomitant to sharing the title of one of Thee’s most celebrated bangers – in its winsome garageness, and emulates that self-fulfilling desire for Neolithic lo-fi production that defined much of garage’s revival in the noughties, particularly in Dwyer’s early oeuvre.
The Men are disciplined musicians who like to hide their smarts. For anyone who ever experience their ferocious, unrehearsed live performances prior to their peak phase, there was always this suspicion that the Brooklyn four-piece would go back to writing scorching rockers and completely dismiss their more marketable sound. But go back to 2012’s Open Your Heart and it’s rather obvious how the The Men’s sudden rise wasn’t just a fluke - the more enhanced recording quality gave them opportunity to experiment with melody and structure, and not once did they compromise their raucous leanings.
The Band’s Robbie Robertson once said, “Music should never be harmless.” But since rock ’n’ roll became less taboo and, eventually, such a mainstream phenomenon that it could hardly ever be considered harmful, the danger seeped out of the genre. Increasingly, rock’s edginess became more of a posture than an actual characteristic. The bands are groomed to serve some label rep’s outdated vision of rebellion, while the actual music is bland and inoffensive.