The Men
Open Your Heart


2.5
average

Review

by derho USER (31 Reviews)
December 2nd, 2012 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Another uneven collection of disparate influences united only by the group's collective swagger

Earlier this year, Justin Moyer penned an essay for the Washington City Paper entitled “Our Band Could Be Your Band: How the Brooklynization of Culture Killed Regional Music Scenes.” In it, he argued that the enshrinement of Brooklyn as the home of the cool has led to the widespread adoption of the Brooklyn Aesthetic - everything is beginning to sound like everything else. 4 years into their career, Brooklynite garagers the Men are shaping up to be a letter-for-letter example of the over-saturated sponge-band Mr. Moyer rails against. Their second long player, “Open Your Heart,” has all the confidence of a sophomore release, but maintains the intensely scatterbrained structure of something sorely amateur.

This is a better overall product than 2011’s “Leave Home.” The band have tightened up and mellowed out. Only once do they venture into the sludge, on “Cube,” and it’s no mudslide (see “Think” from “Leave Home”). Unfortunately, instead of following this apparent trend of maturity by drawing in their exploratory tendrils and focusing on toning a unique sound, it seems the Men have simply eschewed old influences for new, possibly more intriguing ones. And without all that unifying slop, the derivations become even more crystal clear.

The country sound is certainly something new. At first it seems endearing. Put together with the overall punk aesthetic, it feels like early Meat Puppets sans psychosis, but then you shouldn’t pretend to be what you’re not. The title track, however enjoyable, is just a (very) slight re-imagining of the Buzzcocks’ ultra-perfect “Ever Fallen in Love” single. “Presence” may as well be a Spacemen 3 song. The undoubtable low-point of the album is “Candy”, a drooling sort-of-Stones alt-country ballad complete with very ineffective and cluttered lap-steel guitar atmospherics.

It’s that confidence I mentioned earlier that makes “Open Your Heart” tolerable and, hell, even enjoyable at points. They’re talented musicians, and they’re headstrong enough to pull off some of their plagiarisms with a degree of success. They simply lack the audacity (or maybe the drive) to make something of their own. “Open Your Heart” fails ultimately in answering the critical question the group themselves are afraid to ask: who are the Men? Until they figure it out, you’re better off enjoying their source material.

5/10



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user ratings (203)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Ali CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
A record that can be embraced by new and old fans alike....

Adam Downer STAFF (4.5)
Viva Les Hommes...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ZGP1992
December 2nd 2012


302 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I dont know what so many people see in this album... I mean it's ok, but it's kind of boring. Nice review BTW, I Pos'd

americanohno
December 2nd 2012


1601 Comments


good review.

I had know ideer this had country influences, maybe i'll check this out one day. probably like in 5 years after everyone's already forgot about it.

derho
December 2nd 2012


307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah particularly the first couple songs on the album and that damn "Candy" song. Some of it's good. Some of it's not. And thanks to both of you.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 2nd 2012


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

cant see how an album with turn it around, oscillation, ex dreams, and please dont go away can be a 2.5 :/ album's just too fun

derho
December 2nd 2012


307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Oscillation is pretty much the Lung by dinosaur jr. sung by jonathan richman from the modern lovers, and ex-dreams just kind of sounds like a daydream nation song that didn't make the cut. I like turn it around. Even the tracks that seem like total re-hashes are enjoyable enough, for the most part. But all together, the album's lack of originality and direction make it a bit of a throwaway. They definitely have a lot of potential. And lucky us we live in a time where you can buy songs individually if you so please.

derho
December 2nd 2012


307 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I like noise. That's why I was excited to give this album a listen. Also if you think this is abrasive you should listen to their first album hahah.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 2nd 2012


23976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this album's pretty good, but it lacks that bite that Leave Home had

Digging: Marketa Irglova - Muna

Acrosstheshield13
December 2nd 2012


792 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i don't understand how people can think this album is boring. i love this album. as well as "Leave Home".

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
December 3rd 2012


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Apparently the new one's already finished. Sweet!



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