It was the first time I heard Immaculada
that I realized that The Men is a special band. Despite the fact that I had to spent many nights getting into this amalgamation of shoegaze, hardcore, post punk and noise, I was drawn in from the first minute, not knowing why I was so fascinated by this thick wall of sound and noises. I kept digging myself through the dark sonic clouds until I enjoyed it, until I perceived all the different shapes and shades that form this crowded sky of cutting guitars, screeching feedback layers and lulling drums. It was an awesome, rewarding experience that you're not witnessing with every album, so my excitement for their next, Leave Home
, was pretty great.
As it turns out, Leave Home
is The Men changing things up a little. It's not so shoegaze-y and drenched with feedback as its predecessor was, with the punk vibe being much more weighty and present. The record still has its noises and fuzzy squeaking though, but it's all dominated by indestructible punk riffs that spawn frenzy solos and angular guitar leads. It kind of feels like there is a resistant sound barrier raised by the jamming trio, set up by the unyielding drumming and the crunchy chords to absorb all those sparkling guitar sprinkles. Tracks like the instrumental rocker "Lotus", the epic "( )" and the raging "Bataille" all embrace 80s garage rock sounds and washed out psychedelia veils and stuffs them into a batch of terrific songs. "Think" ups the ante, having this dirty, gritty distortion that surely has crushed one or two amps during the recording session and burying the scrappy yelling in a driving rhythm that ruthless pushes the song forward. "L.A.D.O.C.H.", however, loosens the sonic boundaries a bit to fully exploit the force of sludgy guitars combined with grueling howls, a squall of unruly noises and rousing downstrokes that will leave you wondering if you're still listening to the same album. What's more, the closing songs "***tin' With the Shah" and "Night Landing" both add more depth and detail to the record. The former being a raw speakeasy lullaby that turns into a full-blown anthem for lenient summer night's, the album closer is maybe the most bulky punk composition on the record, offering trippin' flanger effects and askew arpeggios. While it's definitely not the most suitable track to tip a record off, it copulates with the foggy opener "If You Leave..." as the records cornerstones sound wise, balancing post punk noise and shoegaze haze with indie rock guitars and an irresistible punk drive.
Well, in the end, Leave Home
is The Men being The Men, a band that picks their influences as meticulous as they craft their compositions. They make songs for music enthusiasts, albums for vinyl collecting High Fidelity dudes, and a sound that keeps blowing minds with its eternal power of sleazy 80s garages.