Over their first four efforts, The Men constantly evolved and altered their style. From 2011’s Leave Home to 2014’s Tomorrow’s Hits they went from a cacophony of crunchy rock to sax-aided tunes from the heartland. The first taste of their new record, Devil Music, came in the form of “Lion’s Den”, a song that signaled the Brooklyn rockers were returning to the raucous sounds of their earlier records. While it’s true the new LP is packed with the kinda of noise that will have you keeping a cautious finger on the volume control, don’t confuse that with a “return to form.”
“To be very clear, we’re not going ‘back’ to anything,” the band’s Rich Samis tells Consequence of Sound, “we’re on a trajectory straight ahead just like always.”
Today, that path takes them to the latest single from Devil Music, “Crime”. In fact, the song is a solid signpost for what Samis is getting at, as you can follow the lineage of The Men right to this point. It hits as hard as anything they’ve recorded with crackling guitars and a pure barrage of percussion, but there’s a subtle sense that it’s driving out of the same territory explored on Tomorrow’s Hits. Following The Men has always been a journey, so take the next step by pressing play below.
In addition to sharing their new track, the men of The Men answered a few questions about Devil Music, “Crime”, and their progression as a band. Check out the Q&A below.
I mean this in the most complimentary of possible ways, but no album from you guys ever really sounds like the one that came before it. Tomorrow’s Hits, for example, was definitely a more toned-down sound than your earliest stuff, dipping into country and more classic rock. with “Lion’s Den” and now “Crime”, it sounds like Devil Music is going back towards a noisier style again. How much of that was conscious and how much was it just the way the songs were taking you?
Rich Samis: Devil Music is a collection of songs that came together following a year long hiatus in which we basically hit the reset button. All of the songs have a certain creative psychosis flowing through them and it was certainly a conscious decision to throw some dirt on all of it. But to be very clear, we’re not going “back” to anything, we’re on a trajectory straight ahead just like always.
What would you say to fans who really got into you on Tomorrow’s Hits and New Moon about what they can expect and appreciate on Devil Music?
RS: If you’re not into this record you can melt it in your oven and make a really cool salad bowl out of it.
Talk to us about what “Crime” in particular is about? How does it fit into the themes coming up on the new LP?
Mark Perro: Tough to say really. Nick wrote the lyrics. To me, it evokes an old Humphrey bogart movie, In a Lonely Place … or a film noir. Something black and white … and gray
You said of “Lion’s Den” that it started acoustically and went through a whole bunch of iterations before you landed on the final track. Was there a similar process with “Crime”? How did it come about?
Nick Chiericozzi: “Crime”, like most of the other songs had two or three stages of existence. Mark and I were hanging out and playing in his old practice room. I think he was wearing a baseball hat.
He has this “go to” drum machine beat that works for practically every song. The beat is one part skip, one part dance and it gets your head moving. The song “Dreamer” (also on the LP) came together on the same day using that same beat. We kept playing the three chords of “Crime” over and over with the drum machine. Next we added a long introductory sequence. I sing the song on the album, but Mark actually came up with the general melody that I later embellished upon. We brought it to practice. The intro was only working half the time and I could tell Rich wasn’t totally committed to it. He suggested we cut the whole beginning and he got to the heart of the song that way. Now it’s three chords and a minute fifty-five. He was excited by his call, and he started chanting the president’s last name over and over.
In your note announcing the release of Devil Music, you said, “It feels like music is all that remains for most of us… the little people…” Can you expand on that, and explain how that concept went into the creation of the album’s ten songs?
NC: Thank you for reading that letter. The only concept was to come up with songs that had energy in them and then later, organize the material to create a mood. The concept is to make our stuff sound good and that’s the foundation of everything we do. The tools, the tones and the periphery change from song to song or record to record, but we’re still trying to capture lighting in a bottle. Sometimes we write things that just read well and don’t have any deeper meaning. That line in the announcement had a ring to it. It worked with the line before it and after it to create a flow. You obviously noticed that and it made you curious in some way. The truth in it, to me, is that music endures like love or humor.