There’s something so downright exhilarating and liberating hearing a band wring every ounce of frustration and pain out of a song, especially when that song is covered in a thick patina of noise, distortion and fuzz. That was the appeal of most of the original punk/hardcore bands, and serves as inspiration to Brooklyn’s The Men on their new compilation Hated: 2008-2011.
Sure, the band reveals a talent for surf on instrumentals like “Captain Ahab” and a haunting take on shoegaze on “Saucy,” as well as experiments with genres as diverse as country and raga, but the throat-shredding early work like “Hated” and “Twist the Knife” will be of interest to fans of that sweet spot when American punk was just on the cusp of hardcore, recalling bands like Boston’s Last Rights. The cover of Paul Collins’ Beat’s “Walking Out on Love” is reminiscent of the early garage punk of Gaunt.
And that sound! Seemingly recorded in the same studio where Guitar Wolf recorded their early material, the earliest songs are drenched in fuzz and distortion, all sounding like the recording needles were lodged permanently in the red. Even when the songs abandon the storm and rage of the early singles, there is still enough grit and noise incorporated into the sounds to defy easy classification.
Hated: 2008-2011 displays a diversity of sounds, and while the closing soothing instrumental “Wasted” might seem miles apart from of the rage of “Ailment,” The Men have showcased a body of work that would be appealing to anyone with an interest in punk or indie music. Whether you want rage and noise or calmer musical explorations, Hated: 2008-2011 rewards further listening and exploration.