THE MEN: New York City (Fuzz Club Records 2023)

All you can think of when you see The Men in their nineth album, New York City, is long lives rock and roll. It was published in February by Fuzz Club Records. It is a beautiful collection of frantic, vivid, almost desperate gems, R’N’R songs with no concessions to good rhythms or melodies. 10 songs put together, full of the usual grudge and rage. This compound isn’t an album focused on the bright side of New York, it is immersed in that greasy and dangerous darkness that revels around the most enjoyable suburbs.


The Men don’t usually keep prisoners, they surely don’t in Hard Livin’, which opens up the album. If MC5 or The Stooges were listening to this they’d for sure be proud. It’s very noticeable how this album has been recorded live in the studio, it’s shown just as it is, raw, loud, naughty and strong. I said there were no concessions for the listener, and there are also none for a producer to “fix” or rearrange songs that sound just as they must do: a dirty pub wherever. That kind of punk rock made in a garage, with high voltage and that kind of darkness that you wear on the inside with no hairspray and no make-up (New York Dolls aside).

They give you no breaks, Peace of Mind hits, blood was splashed with Hard Livin’ now sweat is. Slippery guitars, strong basses… As if 50 years hadn’t passed by and from The Ramones the least Ramone of all was left. As if the CBGB wasn’t surrounded by arty establishments, as if as if people were still walking around with alcohol bottles covered with paper bags instead of Starbucks “coffee” cups. Echo isn’t off the road. A bit more than 3 minutes of smashing the guitar, drums in airplane mode and screaming the rest. Once again, the shade of the most thug 70’s is stretched out. God Bless the USA is R’N’R, punk, dirt, noise, amazing on its own simpleness. A punch in the gut.

Eye is more of a blues. Ripped apart and dark, twisted entrails. The Men still sound dirty and greasy even if they add some of the swamp’s mud. A bunch, actually. Eternal Recurrence belongs to a kind of rock that’s more melodic, less punk but yet as thug as the other one, it gets its 70’s shade back. The illusion quickly disappears with Round the Corner which is also kind of a blues, even though its nothing like Eye. It’s truly lo-fi, chillingly beautiful. Trough the Night takes you back to the road made with raw energy, to The Stooges and company, to that first wave of protopunk, the one that drunk from the darkest puddles, the one with the hot pavements and the dangerous corners. Anyway, I Found You kinda kills the mood. Its appearance, in the surface, is too beautiful. I can’t seem to get through with it. It’d shine a lot more if it was surrounded by other songs but in this position it feels a little weird to me. Not for anything in particular, it’s just in a different page. River Flows kind of moves in the same spectrum, so this two could maybe be on the same page, but the other 8 tracks are far from here. At this point, River Flows seems more to me like dirty rock and less of a melody. This is probably my issue and probably on a more minimal way of the company it has. If I found these two songs in the middle of another album, they would probably have caught my eye more. In this case scenario, they just make their (as I said apparent) beauty in kind of bittersweet aftertaste. Its not a bad ending, its just an unexpected one. Not a failed clasp but the need to start listening to the album again.