Billy Joel said in an interview that listening to one of his albums should be like flicking through the FM dial on the radio. That spirit of experimentation and diversity continues with his fellow New Yorkers, The Men. Like Heraclitus, Drift doesn’t step into the same river twice. The Men may have emerged as a noise rock band but there are few remnants of that era here.
‘Killed Someone’ retains guitars, dialled in to melt your face and burst your eardrums but, it is just a single aspect on this multi-faceted opus. On ‘Maybe I’m Crazy’, The Men channel Nine Inch Nails. The undulating synths and hefty beats recall the noughties era when Trent Reznor was newly sober and upbeat and embracing his stadium status. Although they would probably prefer to be mentioned alongside Berlin-era David Bowie.
Elsewhere, The Men turn their hand to trip-hop and psychedelia on the downbeat, ‘When I Held You In My Arms’, current single ‘Rose On Top Of The World’, and the sixties psych-pop of ‘Secret Light’. ‘Final Prayer’ takes the guitar sound of Tommy James And The Shondells on a bad trip. The folk explosion of that time also impacts on the plaintive slide guitar and harmonica of ‘So High’ and the dreamy guitars of ‘Sleep’. Songwriters Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi owe debts to Jim Morrison, Nick Cave, The Eels, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, and the various incarnations of Neil Young.
As usual with any album that covers as much musical ground as Drift, some songs work better than others but the expansive feel of the record as a compilation of styles is what makes it work as a whole. There are a few tracks here that I’ll probably skip on future listens but, overall, the musical tapas approach is a welcome break from the norm.
Find out more about The Men here.