Menswear

Hay Tiempo!

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To most, Menswear's 1996 one-off single We Love You was the band's swan song. However, despite being dropped by their record company in every country but Japan, Menswear still managed to release their second album, Hay Tiempo, in that country. This record, however, was hardly what anyone would expect from them. More or less abandoning their stylized, loud pop formula, Hay Tiempo is much more rooted in trad rock, with no less than three five-plus minute opuses in the middle of a ten-song cycle. The disc is a textbook sophomore slump; Menswear was essentially a singles band, yet there are not many standout tracks here. The more aggressive songs, for the most part, sound bland and uninspired, with the sole exception of "Waiting for the Sun," which evokes some of the joys found in their debut. The songs that do stand out are mostly the ballads, like the orchestral opener "Every Sound's a Melody" and the excellent "Coming Home," essentially a rewrite of the previous album's "Being Brave." "Coming Home" is not only the best track on the album, but was unfortunately also the band's subtle wave goodbye; shortly after the release of Hay Tiempo they permanently disbanded. This disc does have a few virtues, however, the most notable being that it does, surprisingly, hold up better upon repeat listens. This alone makes it a worthwhile buy for hardcore fans of the band, even though the price and relative obscurity of each copy is a sizable obstacle. Hay Tiempo may not have been the best way for Menswear to say goodbye, but it is a set of ten songs that may please die-hard fans.

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