Album review: "Open Your Heart"
By Ben Opipari
Friday, June 29, 2012
The title track off “Open Your Heart,” the third album by the Men, might make you think the group is a 1980s hardcore punk band. It’s three minutes of frenetic guitar and screaming vocals.
But punk is unpredictable, and that’s where this Brooklyn-based band shines. Almost every track defies expectations. The album has seven-minute jams with sparse lyrics, and it features three-minute aggressive sonic attacks. “Candy” is an acoustic country number with a gentle slide guitar reminiscent of old Rolling Stones; “Cube” is less than three minutes of furious drumming, feedback and guitar shredding; and “Presence” is seven minutes of droning guitar.
The album is a journey through guitar history and needs to be experienced in its entirety. Opener “Turn It Around” is pure rock, beginning with a Faces-like bluesy riff before morphing into the speed of the Buzzcocks, complete with drum solos and dueling guitar solos. “Animal” combines slide guitar with Sex Pistols vocals, along with girl-group backing on the chorus. And the instrumental “Country Song” provides another respite with its lazy tempo and extended tremolo riff.
Even in its most intense moments, “Open Your Heart” is loaded with melodic riffs -- the guitar parts are as memorable as the lyrics. Not many bands can channel Keith Richards and Johnny Rotten in one album, but the Men manages to.