Brooklyn's own The Men have undergone a number of drastic sonic changes in their six years as a band, and their latest has them evoking a soulful classic rock band on Tomorrow's Hits. The album, out next week, is now streaming on Spotify.
With neon artwork (and sarcastic title) that recalls Big Star's #1 Record, it's almost immediatly obvious that The Men's past as noisy punks has been all but put to rest. Instead, their unrelenting energy has been keyed in on brassy, rollicking rock that's as earnest as it is retro. The first song on the album, "Dark Waltz" even name-checks 1974 within 60 seconds, setting the scene for The Men's latest genre experiment.
It's easy to pick out small sections of each song that sound like specific relics from the classic rock era, like the Tom Petty-esque swagger on "Dark Waltz," or the Moondance-style horns on "Another Night," but doing so somewhat belittles the effort that clearly went into making Tomorrow's Hits. This isn't a regurgitation of the past, it's a re-imagining of it through the lens of scuzzy Brooklyn punks. Take the breakneck "Pearly Gates," for instance -- though its style of country rock boogie is decades old at this point, its speed, intensity and batshit-crazy guitar interplay are all wholly products of The Men, traceable even from the much more abrasive freakouts on their 2011 album Leave Home.
Despite the somewhat wide array of older music from which Tomorrow's Hits draws influence, it's a well-composed product, with clear attention paid to track sequencing and pacing. There are two pairs of back-to-back songs that act as companion pieces -- "Another Night" and "Different Days," and album closers "Settle Me Down" and "Going Down" -- that contrast styles, senses of urgency and even lyrics. Perhaps this attention to album-oriented detail, more so than any sonic hallmarks, is what makes Tomorrow's Hits a great tribute to the heyday of the classic rock LP.