You know those gigs which are basically alright but not much else? That’s The Men tonight, that is.
They have some good little songs and they make a decent old racket but it’s all essentially a bit...meh. The Brooklyn five-piece commit that worst of all rock ’n’ roll sins: they’re kind of forgettable.
Perhaps the people down the front would disagree with that. A handful of young men spend the entire 50 minute set crashing around, leaping into each other, pushing one another around, falling on the ground. One assumes that’s a sign of appreciation. Fans like those are probably why six years and five albums into their career, the band seem only to be growing in popularity. Their latest record – called, with tongue perhaps in cheek, Tomorrow’s Hits – was released earlier this month by Sacred Bones Records and looks set to be their best selling yet.
But, largely, to these ears The Men – despite their tattoos and their hair and their often abrasive songs – just aren’t very interesting.
Half Angel Half Light stands out a little. It’s feedback-drenched regret-rock that comes, seemingly, from the bottom of a heart and shot glass. Like-wise The Brass has a blistering-little riff and Open Your Heart comes on a little like The Undertones on steroids. The opening bars signal an upsurge in tempo in that sweaty, hairy mosh pit.
But, while The Men pulverise their instruments, within about 10 minutes of leaving The Harley tonight, they’re already slipping from this writer’s memory.
* Colin Drury