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Review: 'MEN, THE'

-  Label: 'Self Released'
-  Genre: 'Rock' -  Release Date: 'April 2017'-  Catalogue No: 'TMLP1639'

Our Rating:
Can blue men sing the whites? Can Swedes sing the Blues?

This band of men from Lund are out to prove they can. They formed in 2000 and are now on their fifth album. They are down to a trio after shedding a drummer since their last record, This Way (2013).

Their previous releases were recorded more or less live in the studio and reveal a strong 60s R'n'B influence with a self declared penchant for "short songs and sharp edges".

In contrast, Sunburst is described as their first 'headphone album'.

Singer Sven Köhler explains : "We wanted to get some soul into our music".

The result is therefore a more complex sound but its clear from the raspy vocals and jerky rhythms that they still like to leave things messy and that they continue to relish the immediacy of raw Rock'n'Roll.

A significant drawback is that it's obvious that they are not singing in their mother tongue. Grammatically they comfortably achieve upper intermediate level but the lyrics never truly flow smoothly. Fluency and coherence are not the same thing.

In consequence wordplay in titles like The Rest Is Yet To Come, Unmaking Up Your Mind and Love Hurts So Good seems awkward and overly mannered rather than playful or clever.

In the latter song, the only one to also include some lyrics in Swedish, the fire of love comes with a health warning in that "It sets your soul ablaze and burns your face".

On other tracks the words make a sort of sense but are not delivered with any real conviction. We therefore have to take it on trust that "Adrenaline's running wild inside my brain, maybe I'm closer now to go insane" (Rang Dale Ritter).

It all just about qualifies as Blues-based Rock'n'Roll but it's hard to see this band making many inroads beyond their Swedish homeland.

The Men's website
  author: Martin Raybould

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MEN, THE - Sunburst