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Open Your Heart

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 6, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Ironically referred to by Timeout NY as "Thurston Moore & the E Street Band," The Men have never been a band to play by categorical punk subgenre rules. Instead, over the last three years, this band has dabbled in everything from hardcore punk to psych to shoegaze to black metal; and they have done all of it effortlessly, and for the most part, flawlessly. Totally removed from the current climate of a.d.d-youtube-blog-hyped generation of musicians under 21, The Men stand out from the pack as both scene elders and actual record collectors.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 6, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sacred Bones
  • ASIN: B006WAF14M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,357 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
What do you want from rock music? If the answer is blistering, incendiary post hardcore by a bunch of musicians hell bent on testing the limits of the noise tolerance of near neighbours and threatening the internal gubbings of your audio equipment then "Open your heart" ticks every box. The Men are from Brooklyn the new music capital of the US and comprise noise terrorists Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi plus Rich Samis on drums and bassist Ben Greenberg (aka Hubble). They are a band who are at their thrilling best on this beast of a third album "Open your heart" with its echos of the Buzzcocks, Husker Du, Japandroids, Sonic Youth and a dash of Thin Lizzy. Yes its an eclectic list but all these bands understand the role of rock n roll as a redemptiive destination and the need to blast through brick walls to get there. Thus you would be well advised to start at the end and seek out the track "Ex-Dreams" with its massive monster riffs which thrash and pound with a harshness and ebullient energy that could be an alternative to nuclear fusion. The vocals when they come are lower than a snakes belly in the mix but actually add to the tracks raw power. Its also great fun and anyone with a computer can check it out for free on a variety of American music blogs. The seven minute plus perfection of "Oscillation" alternatively is powerful slow burn which builds up sequentially to a huge anthem which should have squatting rights on your stereo and a place in your heart. Equally for the sheer brass neck of stealing the Buzzcocks riff from "Ever fallen in Love" the title track to the album is classic piece of mosh pit mayhem which could lead to a long queue in the local accident and emergency ward.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
While this Brooklyn band's 2nd album, "Leave Home", had spotty moments of revelation, "Open
Your Heart" is consistently weird and inspired. Oh, and did I say unpredictable? You get:
machine gun blasts of ripping pop-punk guitar noise / country psychedelic instrumental
atmospheric twang / building, loping, post-punk Krautrock with a West Coast hippy twist / soaring
shots of fast-paced shoegaze power pop / high speed staccato punk rock / straight-up country
rock-pop / slow-building choral-drone psych rock / cranked-up wails of high energy wah-wah
guitar drone party rock and more. Recalls bands like Husker Du, Buzzcocks, Negative Trend,
Cave, Sonic Youth, Human Eye, Led Zeppelin, Rocket From the Crypt, Neu! A power-packed,
brilliantly diverse and challenging album.
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Format: Audio CD
"Turn It Around" starts with a "Suspect Device" riff from Stiff Little Fingers, and then expands into a rama-lama punk-pop song reminiscent of the Buzzcocks. As I like those two bands a lot, I liked this. That shows the strengths or limits of this album. For those of us who heard the bands thirty years ago, it's a solid homage to a variety of punk styles. To take that first song, it does wander even in a few minutes as the guitar does not seem to know where to go, and it feels as if editing might have helped. The Men lock into a direction for a few seconds, and then they shift. Not sure if this is restlessness or inspiration. Yet, for this time and place, this music fills a niche even if it's not groundbreaking.

Shorter songs can be traced back. "Animal" in its spareness reminds me of Feedtime, a little-known Australian blues-punk trio from the '80s (See my review of their "The Aberrant Years.") "Please Don't Go Away" loads on the layers, as if a fast shoegazing tune.

"Open Your Heart" could fit into American college rock from the early Dinosaur Jr. era, or the Replacements. "Cube" pushes towards a hardcore style, tinged with poppier touches, as those same bands once delivered. "Country Song" uses effects to sustain its guitar, and this textural experimentation shows a movement towards structure that may bode well for future albums. "Ex-Dreams" closes the album in similar fashion--the longer songs take time to experiment for a few seconds to their benefit--blending however the Krautrock with a Sonic Youth-filtered "Daydream Nation" vintage vocal mood.

Speaking of longer songs, the appeal of the Brooklyn (of course) band's style deepened for me as it was for the original punks by nods to Krautrock, as in the longer songs such as "Oscillation.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
"Open Your Heart" begins with a ripping opener, Turn It Around, which reminds the listener of Detroit's early punk bands. This sound can be heard on roughly a third of the tracks, while others, notably the back-to-back Oscillation and Please Don't Go Away, access the band's more technical side. But just because they're taking the time to bust out a solo doesn't mean The Men have less energy on those tracks. In fact, I found that particular pair of songs to be the most heartfelt of the bunch: soaring guitar riffs that are earnest without getting corny, and an underlying sincerity that raised the album up from being just a fun, well-above-average throwback garage punk record to a technical and emotional tour de force. The song Candy reminds me of a couple of Creedence Clearwater Revival songs, and while the lyrics on that particular track aren't spectacular, the song as a whole is great. A bit of a departure from The Men's darker, sludgier work (which I still highly recommend checking out).
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