Rough All Over

With dirty distortion, spacey jamming and Stooge-esque ferocity, The Men somehow manage to sound like punk’s roots and its future at the same time.

They bang through rough, rocking numbers and intense verging-on-hardcore passages, bringing together elements of krautrock and shoegaze for a record that’s as brilliant as it is varied.

Their latest LP Leave Home brought them on their first cross-country tour this past summer, and a whole new audience heard their Brooklyn-born sonic assault.

“Depending on how we’re feeling we have what we call our ‘bangers,’ the punk, faster songs, or maybe we’ll start with the dronier, quieter songs that gradually get louder and end in noise,” said the band’s lead guitarist, Nick Chiericozzi.

“It depends on the night if we play the heavy stuff or the psychedelic stuff. The response has been good,” he said. “People have been saying they’ve been liking the slower stuff, along with the heavy stuff that Chris [Hansell] usually sings on.”

The trio added Rich Samis behind the kit after recording Leave Home, allowing for both Chiericozzi and Mark Perro to ignite their six-string power. On their forthcoming record, tentatively titled Open Your Heart and surfacing this spring, the band managed to discover yet another side of their sound.

“Now Mark and I can weave guitars a little more and double stuff,” said Chiericozzi. “We want [this time] to be able to discern different stuff that you couldn’t on the fuzziness on Leave Home, which was cool because it had its own personality, but we wanted to get things a little cleaner.”

The drums on all their released material (most of which you can download here) are played by Perro, Hansell and Chiericozzi, adding a simple, driving rhythmic wall for crunchy guitar and bass.

“When the three of us were playing drums, we didn’t really know what we were doing,” laughed Chiericozzi. “Which is cool because I like simple drums, but Rich can do that and he can also do other stuff that we couldn’t do. Not necessarily busier, but he’s able to pull more off.”

Pedal-steel and slide guitar find their way onto the new stuff, and they’re continuing their punk rock allusions, too. Leave Home shares its title with an early Ramones album, and the next record will likely give a nod to their forefathers, Iggy and the Stooges.

“If you look at the track order for Raw Power, we’re kind of thinking about mimicking that, where there’s the idea to have the song order on one side kind of match with the other,” he said.

Leave Home was recorded on tape, a first for the band. It was a perfect match for their building, brooding aggression, and Open Your Heart was done the same way, also engineered by Ben Greenberg.

“It was something we’d always wanted to do, but we never found the engineer we wanted to work with,” said Chiericozzi. “So we always went with the digital way. I think our sound just fits with the warmer tone of tape.”

It’s pretty evident when you experience the depth of Leave Home’s distorted haze and the crunch of its clipping drum tracks just how important studio environment is to this live production. Onstage, it transforms into a sweaty, powerful mass of punk fury with influence flying in from both sides of the Atlantic. With a full-time drummer, things will only get bigger.

“Mark and I always wanted to have the ability to have two guitars working together, to be able to build off each other,” said Chiericozzi. “So it’s really cool to be able to make that happen.”

Originally published by The Link Newspaper.