Album #42: The Men – Mercy

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Brooklyn, New York, USA
  • Label: Self-released
  • Best Track: Wading in Dirty Water

Bringing us their eighth album in ten years, The Men are probably a band who meet the definition of being “prolific”, even if their pace has gradually slowed to around an album every two years. Their sound has evolved someone over that time too, gravitating towards Americana and country, yet retaining the hard, punky edge of their earlier work.

I’d also point to elements of psychedelia and even krautrock on this record, particularly second track ‘Wading in Dirty Water’. For ten minutes, it’s driven by the same riff, yet doesn’t seem a dirge. Intricate, experimental and controlled, it’s a compelling listen.

‘Fallin’ Thru’ is another standout track, relying on mainly the low end of a piano and Mark Perro’s gravelly voice recounting a tale of yearning through the symbolism of nature. ‘Children of the World’ sounds straight out of the ’80s, not that that’s a bad thing, while’ Breeze’ is the closest we get to all-out rock.

With its seven tracks totalling 35 minutes, Mercy has the feel of either a bloated EP or an album that could have done with fleshing out with two or three more songs. Still, what makes an album? I suppose it’s diversity from one track to the next while still adhering to an overall theme, and this meets the brief. Despite rarely stopping for a rest, The Men don’t sound like a band burning out or suffering an inspiration drought.

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