The Men’s fifth full-length album, Tomorrow’s Hits, opens with the lines, “My mom gave me this guitar in 1974, and it’s true / now there’s nothing I’d rather do.” While this appears to be an autobiographical line, the fact of the matter is that for the Brooklyn-based quintet, this is merely an imagined sentiment, a reminder of times passed experienced through the eyes of youth. The truth is muddled with fiction.
That is Tomorrow’s Hits. Take one look at the LP’s cover art and you are transported to a dirty yet undeniably charming dive bar, with a finicky jukebox playing an eclectic mix of hits. Put in a quarter and hear some classic rock. For more, you can rock out to a punk thrasher, have your mind blown by a blast of psychedelia, or even take a shot of whiskey while singing along to a country ballad. And on The Men’s new album, you can have that all put together in one neat package.
Not to say that this is not a modern album. On the contrary, Tomorrow’s Hits combines some of the best elements of rock, from head-banging to twang, but it hasn’t always been this way. When The Men first appeared on the scene, they were a distinctive punk band with a raw, hardcore aesthetic. However, as their sound developed, the band slowly incorporated other styles into their repertoire, and their sound became definitively harder to pin down.
In just five short years, the group went through some form of metamorphosis as they traversed beyond pure punk (as witnessed on their 2011 LP, Leaving Home). Their subsequent two albums, Open Your Heart and New Moon, revealed their style as eclectic, with elements of psych-rock and country thrown into the mix. Now, The Men straddle the line between post-punk and a mix of slacker and surf rock, at times remaining harder and at others relaxed and at ease. Each album calms the band down, polishes them up, and opens them to a whole new realm of punk rock.
Each track on Tomorrow’s Hits has its own attitude. The opener, “Dark Waltz,” has a country, almost folksy slack to it, with elements of slacker and surf rock blended in as well. “Pearly Gates” represents good old fashioned power rock integrated with fast-paced psychedelic riffs. “Settle Me Down” comes across as the ultimate toned-down slacker anthem, with psychedelic undertones and a lackadaisical pace.
“Another Night” is oddly a feel-good track, thanks to its jazz and funk influences. While the lyrics can still be angsty (see: “This whole world just keeps on spinning without me”), it has an oddly optimistic attitude (“We gotta just keep on trying, it’ll be alright / we gotta just keep on trying for another night”).
As for their hardcore punk side? “Different Days” and “Going Down” serve as some of the rockingest tracks on the album and are the most reminiscent of The Men’s roots. “I hate being young,” the band moans on “Different Days” in the most angst-ridden, punk way ever. However, neither of the songs reach the raw, full-on mosh-pit-inducing sound of the group’s earlier work.
On Tomorrow’s Hits we watch The Men transform their sound even further than before. While not nearly as explosive as the rest of the band’s catalogue (I do wish the album were a bit more raw and exhibited more of that certain oomph that made it into their previous LPs), Tomorrow’s Hits still reveals The Men to be definite rockers who are here to offer their interpretation of punk music and what rock can be. I dig it.
The Men are playing at the Echo on April 22nd. Pick up tickets for that show now.
The Men Tour Dates:
03-04 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
03-05 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
03-13 Sheffield, England – The Harley
03-14 Brighton, England – The Haunt
03-16 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Doka
03-17 Hamburg, Germany – Hafenklang
03-18 Copenhagen, Denmark – Loppen
03-21 Prague, Czech Republic – 007
03-22 Zurich, Switzerland – La Parenthese
03-23 Milan, Italy – Rocket
03-25 Cologne, Germany – MTC
03-26 Paris, France – Fleche d’Or
03-27 London, England – Village Underground
03-28 Liverpool, England – East Village Arts Club
03-29 Glasgow, Scotland – Broadcast
03-30 Leeds, England – Brudenell
04-10 Cleveland, OH – Happy Dog
04-11 Detroit, MI – Lager House
04-12 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
04-13 Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club
04-14 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue & 7th St. Entry
04-16 Missoula, MT – Ole Beck VFW Post 209
04-17 Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
04-18 Vancouver, British Columbia – Media Club
04-19 Portland, OR – Dante’s
04-21 San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop
04-22 Los Angeles, CA – The Echo
04-23 San Diego, CA – The Casbah
04-24 Tucson, AZ – Skrappy’s
04-26 Austin, TX – Mohawk Outside
04-27 Dallas, TX – Club Dada
04-29 Nashville, TN – The End
04-30 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
05-01 Asheville, NC – The Mothlight
05-02 Richmond, VA – Strange Matter
05-30 Nelsonville, OH – Nelsonville Music Festival
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