Steve Wilson. On music.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Men - Open Your Heart (Sacred Bones)

The Men are men (well, you never know) from Brooklyn. And unlike your average twenty-somethings from Gotham’s most populous borough they don’t sound like lapsed graduate students trying to justify their career choice to their parents by claiming their new album is a master’s thesis on some obscure aesthetic strategy. Shit, no. They sound like a damned rock band. This is rock as bedrock – elemental, dedicated to the proposition that every dumb ass that queried “is rock dead?” should be hit with a sledgehammer - as if Little Richard could ever die. I’ve heard Leave Home (yes, borrowed from the Ramones, paragons of college rock sophistication). I haven’t heard their earliest music. Their new album Open Your Heart represents gravitation toward what the average rock fan might call listenable. Take that, hipsters! 

But really, they don’t sound like they give two shits. Which always makes for great rock and roll. Ya think the Stones agonized over how Beggars Banquet would be received by an audience taught to anticipate lysergic spew? Hell, no. And by God, Open Your Heart is a sort of Beggars for a generation raised on racket. Oh, I’ve heard little college-rocker journalists bring up Husker Du and Black Flag and SST and Homestead and Dischord labels and whatever else. I guess. But mostly I hear the swirling missionary positions of everyone from the Stooges to Jane’s Addiction (and a certain kinship with Icarus Line). And of course the noise monkey grooving of everyone from Spaceman 3 to Sonic Youth to - I dunno, the Swans?