The Men - Tomorrow's Hits | Album Review | By Volume

Gotta get out, before my heart explodes. Candy Says - Not Kings

The Men

Tomorrow's Hits

We’ve got your hits right here.

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Author: on March 5, 2014
Sacred Bones

Before we begin anything, I think we should stop for a moment to indulge in a proud-parent-clap for that fucking harmonica that rips during the end of “Dark Waltz”. Its wailing bars pierce through the twangy-guitar riffs, the driving percussion and keys, to finalize what was already a good song and make it flat-out great. That’s not to lessen the impact of the saxophone that tears-up “Another Night”, which also accelerates an otherwise pretty fun rock song into another stratosphere. Nor can I forget the flat out bat-shit-raucous “Pearly Gates”, in which guitarists Mike Perro and Nick Chiericozzi (shout out to people with long names ending in vowels; I feel you) sound like they eviscerated their fingers riffing off one another all the while screaming “let me in!”. So, really, I suppose the only way to start this is by simply jumping in head first, fists out stretched, ready to hug-and-or-pummel my way to musical nirvana. If I’m following in example of The Men, that is, a collection of individuals who make up one of the most interesting, musically free-spirited and exciting bands currently in existence.

Tomorrow’s Hits is the fifth record in as many years from the Brooklyn band, and like the rest of their discography, it’s cleverly varied with reference to their other albums. Each time The Men are sized up by us critical types, their albums rolled out like a piece of artistic meat for the slaughter, they are able break the pigeon-holing chains we intellectually vomit on them through our keyboards, simply by producing an album no one would have expected of them. Clincher is though, they never suck. Ever. And while one could wax lyrical on how they were so much better on this record or in this form, I’m too busy still being dumbfounded a band who crafted an album like Immaculada would then turn around and produce New Moon, or the Campfire Songs EP. Tomorrow’s Hits follows in the footsteps of its forebears in a number of fashions, the most quickly evident being that this is a softer record in comparison to their first three. If one were to clump, it logically makes sense sitting next to an album like New Moon in their chronology; it’s a bit twangy, touts more than a little of the E Street Shuffle and is easily the most vocal heavy the band has been yet. That being said, it might also be their most accessible, and considering how well these guys turn otherwise standoffish music into fucking rock gold, this is cause for nothing but excitement. Tomorrow’s Hits may be a quick jolt, but it rocks, pure and simple.

If there is fault to be found though, it lies within the breeziness of Tomorrow’s Hits. The album clocks in at eight songs, over just thirty-eight minutes, and is a stark departure from their otherwise deceptively sprawling discography. There’s no exceptional instrumentals to be found – that pitch-perfect soundtrack to a road trip they plugged into each prior record, so the album reads quite literally like a best-of comp. Which is thematically fitting (Tomorrow’s Hits, after all) but also gives the record this saccharine quality that was lacking from The Men’s previous releases. To act like this wasn’t a calculated, desired aesthetic would be foolish (Tomorrow’s Hits, after all) but it does detract from the gut-punch quality their other album possess. Though even now, reading that back, that feels only half-correct. The album is the most straight-up fun LP The Men have produced, one that even the most devoted fan of Open Your Heart or Leave Home may still spin more frequently than any other Men record – though I’m not sure that they’ll connect with in on a cathartic level as before. I feel like this is what the band were aiming for though: an album comprised of drool-inducing guitar-rock that you put on, jam hard and subsequently forget about until you need another dose of pure-riffage or jazz-infused Boardwalk-rawk. It’s not the same, sure. But I would hardly call this a bad thing. I mean, have you heard that harmonica yet? Absolutely filthy.

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