The Drift is the seventh album in 8 years from New York’s The Men. It finds them back on Sacred Bones following a cathartic one-album hiatus. Rejuvenated and throwing everything they’ve learned during their period of re-self discovery in their new project makes The Drift a more experimental record which occasionally recalls their earlier, guitar driven work.
CD £10.49 SBR191CD
CD on Sacred Bones.
Limited Vinyl LP £18.99 SBR191LPC1
Limited edition 'Deep Drift' coloured vinyl LP on Sacred Bones.
- Coloured vinyl
- Limited edition
- Includes download code
Vinyl LP £17.49 SBR191LP
Black vinyl LP on Sacred Bones.
- Includes download code
With a workmanlike approach to skronk, the Men have released seven records in just eight years. They took one off last year and I imagine they feel immense guilt. A band obsessed with noise rock and what can be absorbed into it, their sound has passed through hardcore, surf, country, pop rock and now… a buncha retreads? I realise the last one isn’t a genre, but it is indicative of the simple mechanisms the Men use to flourish their sound. Every album feels like a new variety show for the same core performance; if ever there was a band that sounded both quintessentially themselves and consistently other, it’s this one. And yet ‘Drift’ is kinda old hat.
On ‘Drift’, they play themselves off with an affected air of sleuth, as if making true on their side-project Dream Police with a record of noir procedural pop. At times it sounds marvellous: the keys twinkle and the bass lament on the waltzy “When I Held You In My Arms”, which sounds like Neil Young mixing the demons of “Cortez the Killer” with the twilit sadness of ‘Tonight’s the Night’. Their grinding perpetual motion is good in any possible timbre, and so the ominous “Secret Light” slays -- it’s a romp of sax, slapped hand drums and freewheeling keys that travels through a tunnel with no thought of the light on the other side.
Getting into the thick of it, though, and it simply feels like the Men are victory lapping us: the pastoral Americana harmonies of “Rose on Top of the World” are straight out of ‘New Moon’, coupled with the twanging “So High” as if to take us back to a different set of roots. “Killed Someone” is noisy as heck. And so the whole thing feels familiar, if not perfect -- the whispered and squelching synth catastrophe of “Maybe I’m Crazy” is bad, but it’s misleadingly bad, since its nasty surprise betrays the fact that this is largely another Men record. They can do the rounds, for now.
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