The Men

New Moon

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On their fourth album in as many years, the Men are fast becoming one of the more prolific bands in indie rock, and though New Moon might be a mellower affair than their previous work, they show no signs of slowing down. Continuing along the path set down on 2012's Open Your Heart, the album pairs the abrasive production of their earlier efforts with a more melodic sound, creating a sound akin to Dinosaur Jr. on a serious Tom Petty kick. Though this new approach might come as a bit of a shock, given the kinds of sonic destruction the Men have been known to delight in, it's a move that the band has been telegraphing little by little as time has gone on, making songs like "Half Angel Half Light" and "I Saw Her Face" feel like a logical step in the band's growth to anyone paying attention. Fortunately for fans of their punishing past, New Moon smoothes out the edges without getting rid of them completely, leaving just enough rough patches here and there to remind listeners that there's still plenty of muscle hiding just below their languid fa├žade on crash-and-bang bruisers like "Without a Face" and "The Brass." While on the surface it's easy to see New Moon simply as a band softening its approach, the melodic evolution feels more and more like the Men are trying to separate themselves from an ever-growing sea of second-wave noise rock bands, willingly abandoning a burgeoning trend before they're forever anchored to it. Luckily, the Men have enough versatility that they'll hopefully be paddling on long after the ship has sunk.

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