The Men's scorching "Open Your Heart" sounds like the product of a decade's worth of thrift-store crate-digging.
The Men's scorching "Open Your Heart" sounds like the product of a decade's worth of thrift-store crate-digging. Kevin Faulkner
Song: "Open Your Heart"
Artist: The Men
CD: Open Your Heart
Crafted by three songwriters in a four-piece rock band, The Men's music practically bursts at the seams. The Brooklyn band blasts an MC5-style firebomb one moment, a somber Spaghetti Western instrumental the next, and — oh, hell, throw in a pleasant little Velvet Underground pop song, too. The patchwork narrative has a punk-like charm on The Men's forthcoming second album — Open Your Heart, out March 6 — and the title track somehow ties it all together.
Like The Replacements doing dead lifts with the Buzzcocks at the post-punk gym, "Open Your Heart" has all the carefree jangle of the former while holding on to the bouncing melodic snarl of the latter. The guitars ring with tremolo'd regret over a mid-tempo doo-wop drum beat that occasionally hits a punk-rock pick-up. The breakdown about two minutes in start-stops on fat bass plucks and tightly hit hi-hat in the dramatically funky way Fugazi sometimes heightened the tension. It's a meeting of musical worlds that only seems possible after a decade's worth of thrift-store crate-digging. But let's give The Men the benefit of the doubt here: This is smart rock 'n' roll that seems all too simple on first glance.