“If less is more / What’s in store” – from “Without A Face”

If there’s one thing The Men are not, it’s “less.” The bar brawl punk-rock band from Brooklyn captures that lo-fi dissonance that defines the genre but with enough melodic tinges to whet any listener’s appetite for new music in general. They’ve already managed to produce an album a year for the last four years and show no signs of slowing down.

The trick has mostly worked in The Men’s favor — the output over three albums has resulted in a pretty nice collection of solid punk music. They’re back for attempt number four with the release of New Moon tomorrow, a year to the day since the release of 2012’s Open Your Heart, and it doesn’t look like they will be altering this release schedule anytime soon, which makes this new album occasionally feel like just a minor success in the greater scheme of things.

The Men - New Moon Album Cover Art

New Moon is a prime example of The Men’s chameleon-like adaptability. The band stays grounded within the realm of punk’s overt nature, but at the same time, they fuse together a variety of melodies and compositions for tighter songwriting craft. Tracks such as “Without A Face” and “Electric” are so nicely constructed, in fact, that you’d be hard-pressed to call them “experimental,” but The Men lay their groundwork and give their brand of punk a bit of color and definition that edges it out just enough that the new “normal” becomes experimental.

But “normal” may be stretching it a bit. See, compared to their prior three outings, The Men go for a mellower approach on New Moon, softening the noise and lowering the pulses for a somewhat more accessible yet still experimental affair. That may shock some fans of The Men and may even slightly turn them off, but while tracks like “Half Angel Half Light” and “I Saw Her Face” bring the amplification down and burn at a slower pace than the tracks that surround them, the songs still contain the same musical gravitas found in any of The Men’s other efforts. For a band looking to possibly wind down after a rush through four albums, this does seem like it would be the most logical next step to take in their career.

Yet for all of this newfound “experimental” focus on softer songs, New Moon really only works as a peculiar collection, and the album’s energy is a bit all over the place through most of its runtime. Analyzing the album track by track with a focus on each one’s individual merits is much simpler than trying to find an overall rhythm to the album. I suppose this makes New Moon a great contribution when you have all of The Men’s albums on shuffle, but as a standalone effort, it’s only starting with the ferocious “The Brass” that things on New Moon keep up the pace.

Even though The Men occasionally opt for an “easy does it” approach, the twelve tracks on New Moon are great additions to the band’s catalog. After releasing four albums in four consecutive years, I can perfectly understand why they would want to delve into slightly lighter territory and avoid burning out the fuse, and it’s apparent that they are more than capable of pulling out a great tune in that regard. While the collection of tracks — and their order within New Moon — is a bit questionable, fans should still be happy to have a dozen great new additions to their Men’s catalogue.

New Moon is out March 5th via Sacred Bones Records on multiple formats. You can check out The Men’s upcoming tour dates down below, which includes a performance at The Troubadour in LA this Saturday.

The Men Tour Dates:

03/07 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
03/09 – Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
03/14 – Paris, France – Point FMR
03/15 – Kortrijk, Belgium – De Kreun
03/16 – Bruxelles, Belgium – Magasin 4
03/17 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso
03/19 – London, England – Garage
03/20 – Nijmigen, Netherlands – Merlyn
03/21 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Stengade
03/22 – Berlin, Germany – Festaal
03/23 – Prague, Czech Republic – 007 Club
03/24 – Vienna, Austria – Arena
03/25 – Budapest, Hungary – Akvárium Klub
03/26 – Ljubljana, Slovenia – Menza Pri Koritu
03/27 – Zagreb, Croatia – Club Mocvara
03/28 – Belgrade, Serbia – Grad Beograd
03/29 – Skopje, Macedonia – MKC
03/30 – Tessaloniki, Greece – 8 Ball Club
03/31 – Athens, Greece – AN Club
04/10 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
04/11 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
04/12 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue and 7th Street Entry
04/13 – Northfield, MN – The Cave-Carleton College
04/14 – Winnipeg, MB – West End Cultural Centre
04/15 – Saskatoon, SK – Amigos
04/16 – Calgary, AB – Broken City
04/17 – Edmonton, AB – Pawn Shop
04/19 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret
04/20 – Seattle, WA – Vera Project
04/21 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
04/22 – San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop
04/24 – Las Vegas, NV – The Bunkhouse
04/25 – Salt Lake City, UT – Salt Haus
04/26 – Denver, CO – Hi Dive
04/27 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
04/28 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird. w/ Organs til Brooklyn
04/29 – Memphis, TN – 1372 Overton Park
04/30 – Nashville, TN – The Stone Fox
05/01 – Durham, NC – Pinhook
05/02 – Washington, DC – DC 9
05/03 – Providence, RI – Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
05/27 – Charlottesville, VA – Tea Bazaar
05/28 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
05/29 – Birmingham, AL – The Bottletree Cafe
05/30 – New Orleans, LA – Circle Bar
05/31 – Austin, TX – Chaos in Tejas
06/01 – Austin, TX – Chaos in Tejas
06/14 – Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw. w/ Black Flag

For more info:

The Men