The Men have come a long way since their 2012 release that gained them their first real musical recognition and New Moon definitely takes a direction that was not expected. On the 2012 release, there were many songs that delved more towards the punk side of rock, but on this album, they scale back their vigor and head toward a folkier kind of rock. Its rock moving back to its simple roots and captures a more tender side of the band that was not shown on earlier releases. Not to mention, the acoustic guitar that appears more frequently on this release adds a real humble feel, and something about the way Mark Perro’s penetrating voice pierces the music makes the album have a kind of homey sensation to it.
There are moments when the old Men are remembered though and fight through the comfortable new sound to remind us why they were so loveable with their 2012 release. Especially on “The Brass,” they return to their mind-bending solos and heavy distortion of the guitar to make a blend of hard rock tracks and the laid-back ones from the early part of the album. The way the band can move so seamlessly between two fairly different types of music makes them seem like they have been around a lot longer than four years and I sense a real wisdom starting to emerge.
Arguably, their sound is not something incredibly new or unique, but the way The Men deliver their music helps one ignore the fact that punk/acoustic rock has been thought of before. There are bands that do this sound better and there are bands that have a more complex sound, but what The Men lack in both of those areas, they make up for that by having an undying spirit that shines through all of their music, whether it is their attempt at folk rock or psychedelic rock. Raw emotion is something that gets lost sometimes in music, but The Men have it, in the way the vocals are crooned, the way the guitar and harmonica solos alike have so much personality and the way it all comes together, like your dad or brother could be siting there, singing you a song to remind you everything in life would be OK.