Seven months after the release of their previous album New Moon, The Men are due to release a new five track EP entitled Campfire Songs on October 14.
The five piece punk band from Brooklyn look to build on their previous album’s success and expand exposure with their continued tour of America. The Men have been extremely busy of late as they seem to be constantly in the studio or touring. However, this will be no problem for the energetic line up of Mark Perro (vocals, guitar), Nick Chiericozzi (vocals, guitar), Rich Samis (drums), Ben Greenberg (vocals, bass) and Kevin Faulkner (lap steel).
The Men decided to create an EP with acoustic versions of a collection of already released songs, aptly titled Campfire Songs. Campfire Songs opens, as you would expect from an album with such a title, with an acoustic guitar and fair vocals. The album starts with I Saw Her Face which, after a lengthy introduction, the audience is introduced to Perro’s vocals. Light, soft and clean, The Men ease into the album with an almost methodical feel. The repetitive metronomic tones lead into another and the audience may feel time vanish and before they know it, the next song is upon them.
If I Saw Her Face is a gradual awakening then the next track The Seeds is an alarm clock. A more familiar tone for the majority of The Men fans, The Seeds sets an early pace and doesn’t let up. It starts with fast, clean guitar, beating maracas and comforting repetitive smooth vocals. The Seeds is a strikingly well produced song with neat arrangements and perfect vocals. The volume on each layer is extremely compatible which helps to lead on to the rest of the album.
The theme of the album continues with the third track, Water Babies. Once again The Men have added their sing-a-long, campfire feel to one of their previous releases. This version of the song completely fits with the theme of the album. However, it seems not as tight, more relaxed and maybe intentionally, as a song around a campfire would be.
The Men close the album with a fitting version of the single from New Moon, Turn Your Color and a new song for the album Patience. Turn Your Color sounds like an extension of the previous three songs and really drives home the overall theme of the album which is something The Men really wanted. Patience concludes the album and offers something a little different. The band all chip in for the vocals and the collaboration of different acoustic guitar layers and the return of the maracas which made The Seeds so uplifting are present too. The final track evokes images of one last jam around the campfire. It truly draws a line under the album and after listening to it all at once, it’s easy to see how the songs float into each other almost seamlessly. Patience is the perfect end to the album with the lyrics, “Oh let it be now…” repeated throughout the track with the guitars picking away before the end of the song.
Overall, The Men have succeeded in creating a campfire-esque EP, one in which is easily appreciated when listened to throughout as opposed to a song here and there. It offers something different to the usual material the The Men have recorded and is definitely an album worth investing in for any The Men fan.
By Luke Bennett.