I completely forgot that this record came out very recently- I thought it was coming out in the Summer. I am a fool! Anyway.
The Men’s new record- New York City is their best work. Did I ever think I’d say something was better than their debut? Nope. Their debut owns a chunk of me that no other record ever could, but their new record is something else. It’s a Punk record that takes you back to NYC in the 70s. Aptly titled record, right?
Over the past few days this has been the record I’ve been listening to religiously. Every song feels like a time capsule of Punk. At times you feel like you’ve found an old Iggy Pop record that no one else has ever heard. Then you feel like you’ve listened to the New York Dolls for the first time. This is hugely prominent on the record opener Hard Livin’ which has Johnny Thunders style guitar and a real New York Dolls feel to it. Most of The Men’s records have been released via Sacred Bones but this one has been put out by the equally influential Fuzz Club. Both labels have backed so many exceptional bands and the cause of me rarely having any money!
New York City is the bands ninth record, and they’ve been going just over a decade or so. To me, they are one of the most important bands of my generation and they’ve just got this unique style that expands on every record. Sometimes when a band changes labels they can maybe lose who they were or badly flip their sound to fit the style of their new home- The Men don’t do this at all. If you listen to their records in chronological order, you will hear that this is the sound that was destined for record number nine- regardless of which label was to release it.
There are so many wild moments on this record and every song is just a delight to listen to. At the moment, Echo is the one I keep playing the most. I love the raw feel to it and how urgent it sounds. I love how the vocals are so gnarly and rough. There’s nothing delicate about this record- it’s unfiltered carnage and I can’t get enough of it! Every song flows perfectly into the next, and the production on this record is so tight- but they still maintain a strong DIY feel to it. The sound still feels brand new, and that’s one of the many reasons as to why I love this band. I love how they always go a step further and this record shows this in all its glory.
New York City is a record that you need to play in order for the first listen or so; but after that- go whichever way you want. Eye is the slickest song on the record- that’s the one that throws you off because musically it’s tamest on the record but vocally it’s probably the best. Honestly, the vocals on this are snarly as fuck and you can’t get enough of them. This record is the band at their best, and I’ve probably said that about their previous records but, with this one- there’s something truly magical about it. You feel like after being a fan of the band for so long, you’ve been on this journey with them and the journey has finally led to this record. The Punk record the band needed to make. The Punk record we all need. It’s a masterpiece and I could happily spend hours and hours listening to it. It’s a record that with every listen, you find something else to appreciate and fall in love with. Listening to this record, I feel like I’m listening to The Men for this first time but also reinforcing why I love them again and again. Every listen of this record is so precious.
I have no idea if the band will ever tour the UK with this record, but I hope with all my heart that they do because it just HAS to be heard live. And for purely selfish reasons, I’d like to finally be able to see a band I’ve loved for so long live! Every song on this record is full of this energy that you can’t get enough of. Songs like God Bless The USA, Anyway I Find You and Round The Corner are just so intense and honestly, this record will make you feel battered and bruised after hearing it. It’s a fistfight, it’s a riot and it’s so important. If you’ve never listened to The Men before, I’d normally tell you to play their debut, Leave Home first- but I think I’d now tell you to start with this one! It’s incredible, and I feel it just may be one of the best records we will hear this year.