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The Men

Campfire Songs

(Sacred Bones; US: 15 Oct 2013; UK: 21 Oct 2013)

On its surface, Campfire Songs seems like a pretty basic release. The all-acoustic set —recorded in an upstate New York house—comprises two new takes on songs from the band’s excellent 2012 record, New Moon, a reworking of a non-album track, and two new jams. It’s a kind of where are you going, where have you been kind of thing. But, listening to Campfire Songs, it feels like more than that. For one, we get a more fragile tunefulness from the band on these songs, but that fragility feels awfully strong. There’s the jangling, sturdy textures of “I Saw Her Face”, the dusty chug of “The Seeds” and, in particular, the excellent ringing expanse of new tune “Turn Your Color’”. All through this gauzy, intimate record, the Men turn the notion of the acoustic record on its ear. What should sound stripped down actually sounds uniquely lush, rippling out in all directions. That rippling may repeat a bit too much on closer “Patience”, but overall this is a surprising, satisfying set, one gives us another angle on a band that seems to be always shifting.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

The Men - Turn Your Color
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