Long-time fans of the Men might be a bit confused when listening to New Moon for the first time. What's with all the acoustic guitars and mandolins? Where's the snarling, post-hardcore Brooklyn band who were cheeky enough to name their second record after a Ramones album? Is that a harmonica solo on Bird Song?
Their fourth full-length album, which likely isn't named after the Twilight novel, comes on the heels of last year's Open Your Heart, the group's strongest effort to date. Though they've acknowledged their alt-country inclinations in the past, they go further down the rabbit hole this time, especially on mournful instrumental High And Lonesome.
Just when you think they've mellowed out completely, there's I Saw Her Face, which stomps like a Neil Young & Crazy Horse outtake, and The Brass's pealing guitars. While the album could've benefited from the trim of a song or two, it successfully avoids the dreaded career stagnation.
Top track: I Saw Her Face