Spin an album by the Men, and you might mistake it for a multiband comp: The Brooklyn group swaps singers and shuffles styles at will. This can be disorienting – on first encountering 2012’s 'Open Your Heart', the third Men LP, this writer found himself bummed that breathlessly anthemic opener 'Turn It Around' was an anomaly rather than a tone-setter. But after multiple plays, the record’s scattershot quality started to seem like a masterstroke – why shouldn’t a twangy, chilled-out instrumental follow a raucous noise-punk meltdown? Unlike, say, Japandroids’ 'Celebration Rock', which reveals itself all at once, 'Open Your Heart' is a tough nut, well worth cracking.
Like its predecessor, the Men’s latest, 'New Moon', refuses to sit still. There’s a country-rock current running through the album – 'Open the Door' and 'High and Lonesome' pick up where rootsy 'Open Your Heart' highlight 'Candy' left off – but it also touches on fuzz-blasted melodic punk ('Electric') and noisy psychedelic sprawl ('Supermoon'). 'New Moon' incorporates a new Man: guitarist Ben Greenberg, known for his avant-leaning work with Zs and Hubble. But even though Greenberg sings lead on a couple tracks, in a clear-toned style that’s miles from the belligerent bellow of former member Chris Hansell, the transition feels seamless – further evidence of the band’s ingeniously inclusive aesthetic.