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- Tomorrow's Hits by The Men
6/10 Mike Staff review, 26 February 2014
Remember when The Men were a promising young noise rock band with an irresistible grunge-pop edge? They promised such wonderful things. I don't think any of us here at Norman Towers imagined that in such a short time they'd turn into the Neil Young-worshipping pub rock troupe they are today. Granted, there's still a nice thick distortion on the guitars, but the days of their anarchic early-Sonic-Youth-isms are very much in the past now.
That's not to say that everything is terrible here. On 'Pearly Gates' they launch into a wild and frantic boogie-blues jam full of honky tonk piano and squealing harmonica and slide guitar and...is that a saxophone? I think that's a saxophone. This track is pretty wild, like the Grateful Dead and Crazy Horse driving down the street full throttle in a dragster being pursued by ball lightning, and it lasts for ages too. This is a good thing. Closer 'Going Down' has a nice early Thermals kick to it too with crispily distorted vocals, but 'Settle Me Down' which separates these two is a simpering country ballad which no amount of reverby weirding will redeem.
I'm left feeling like The Men have turned from an interesting art-rock prospect into the kind of b(l)and aimed squarely at the Drive-By Truckers/Hold Steady/Lucero crowd. I was willing to give their change of style the benefit of the doubt last time round but this one has just left me thinking, if they sounded like this to begin with would anybody have paid any attention in the first place?
8/10 Jon Customer review, 1st August 2014
Harsh review from the norman boys, harsh.
I'm not going to review this album per say, but rather give a general overview of The Men to justify why I think they've been hard done to here.
The Men are a solidly good band. I know, damning by faint praise, but let me justify what I mean. Shellac are brilliant, Swans are brilliant, Aphex Twin is brilliant. I do not reach for these albums when I'm driving to the shops or sat having tea with the kids because these albums deserve more from me. They need more investment from the listener. The Men don't, hence good. Interesting enough but not so challenging that I can't keep my mind on what I'm doing. Solidly good because they keep turning this stuff out, all to the same standard.
I say the previous review is harsh mostly because tomorrow's hits is business as usual. All the previous LPs have had great reviews from norman, and to my mind the only change from leave home to this, is a general increase in the standard of studio / recording no how.
The band they mostly remind me of is 'The Band', not sure why, they don't sound like The Band. I think it's because of the above. I listen to the band in the car a lot too!
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