The Men are the Golden Snitch of amazing bands. Everytime you think you’ve caught onto them, and you’re going to ride into Quidditch success, with all the bling, bitches and Cristal that brings, they slither out of your grasp and chameleonise themselves into a unique and beautiful gryffin. I don’t know how metaphors or the Harry Potter universe work.
It became all too easy to fall in love with The Men on their raging punk debut, but then they broadened their strokes and struck up a post-punk pose with ‘Leave Home’. Their third album continued to be punk rock as GG Allin’s scrotum by incorporating some more influences into the harsh brutality, and their fourth effort took turns between calming down the energy and ramping it up to newfound levels of clusterfuck punk genius.
So, it makes sense that ‘Tomorrow’s Hits’ would be another left turn. The Men have all but abandoned their punk/noise roots for a full album of Americana and bluegrass influenced tunes. What the fuck? Surely every fan will be turned into a retching pile of sadness seeing their former punk heroes go from crafting a brilliantly visceral piece like ‘Night Landing’ to wussying out with acoustic guitars and thinly-veiled threats of incestual sodomy?
Turn away your stereotypes right now, you bigoted, close-minded prude! Sure, that sentence could be an excellent (and accurate) example of hypocrisy, The Men prove to be an outlier of bands that can consistently change their sound and yet retain the magic of what their original fans were keen on. ‘Tomorrow’s Hits’ is an album so chock full of goodness, you could shove your head up the asshole of a vegan that recycles and still not be at the levels of amazing health that The Men showcase on this album.
Think of this-If David Bowie were re-incarnated into being a member of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Phil Spector circa-Ramones were given production duties, then this is what would have resulted. The album has elements of grandiose and flash to it, and a sincere pop edge, but it’s delivered in a style that’s laidback and comfortingly warm. It’s like Bob Dylan or Townes Van Zandt got a rush of adrenaline straight to their spleens. The result can only be described as gorgeous.
Songs like ‘Get What You Give’, ‘Sleepless’ and ‘Settle Me Down’ are rollicking ballads that unfold at a more timeless place than a Morgan Freeman narration. Then there are high energy Stooges/Radio Birdman-esque romps of ‘Different Days’ and ‘Pearly Gates’. And finally, some good old fashioned twirlers like’The Dark Waltz’.
Initially, The Men seemed like a secret that wouldn’t be uncovered until past their prime, like all the proto-punks from Detroit. But although an album title like ‘Tomorrow’s Hits’ points towards such a future, The Men are a band that are too dedicated to their work of pumping out awesome songs to not be revered in their own lifetime.