I haven't really been paying much attention to what's been going on in Stateside indie circles recently unless girl groups have been involved, so this viril bunch of Brooklynites were a real wake up call. The Men (good name!) use garage punk as a starting point but prang off in all sorts of directions over these two records that dropped within months of each other in late 2011/early 2012 - I'm not sure if their 'Leave Home' is a nod to the Ramones record of the same name but if they're capable of cranking out a stonking album every six months then they're already in the right bracket. These dudes have been touring for a while I think but have only just shown up on the radar outside New York so keep your eye out for them on the road cos this shit is going to sound GREAT live. 'Leave Home', probably the beefier of the two albums, kicks off with woozy opener 'If you leave' before racking up greasy garage nuggets that'll spill your drink from across the room, matching facemelting scuzz guitar with atonal brass and some full-on throat martyr vocals - 'Think' sounds like Jesus Lizard in a wind tunnel and blistering freak-out 'LADOCH' almost reminds me of Khanate's suffocating black metal filthfest. Though it gets weighty in places, track titles like 'Shittin' with the Shah' suggest that these guys aren't all doom and gloom.
The more upbeat and varied 'Open your heart' still kicks your butt from the get go but mixes in brighter influences than its predecessor - if 'Leave Home' was recorded during an all-night Melvins & reefer session, they definitely laid down 'Open your heart' with the sun out. There's a a spot of surf rock on here à la Midway Still/Swervedriver ('Please don't go away') and even some mellow country acoustic stuff ('Candy'). They don't even bother with lyrics for some of the tracks, just lock down and bang out a big greasy riff until they run out of ideas of what to do with it ('Oscillation') or meander of into drowsy psychedelia ('Presence', 'Country Song'). How much forethought goes into putting these records together is debateable, but that's perhaps part of the charm - these two LPs are brimming with enough good ideas and arse-kicking riffs to suggest that The Men are cranking out killer material quicker than they can lay it down in the studio. Watch out for tour dates and another one of these before the end of the year, they're on a great run of form right now.