It's impossible to stay still while the infectious, arty, punk-tinged disco house sounds of MEN are echoing clear. An offshoot remix project of feminist electro-punk band Le Tigre, the Brooklyn-based collective capture the energy of a dynamic live performance on their early 2011 release, Talk About Body, heralding great promise too for their forthcoming tour.
'Life's Half Price' opens the effort with a pounding electronic beat and repeated bass riff, before the punk-y guitar riff crunches in and the track builds layer by layer, vocals, synths and all, adding up to a fuzzy and scuzzy, arty-electro synth-pop blend. Their melodies are repetitive but married with infectious danceable grooves and interspersed with melodic guitar and synth interludes. Towards the tracks' close, over a repeated groove, the female spoken section reeks of something between Gaga and Karen O. 'Off Our Backs' continues with layers of dance beats, fuzzy synth bass, crunching guitars and cool female vocals; a blend of arty, dance-y, electro-punk sure to be NME pleasing, and Men's music, without need for any DJ intervention, will undoubtedly grace the inner city indie discos. As 'Take Your Shirt Off' best proves, there are flavours of a more energetic version of Mercury Prize winners The XX throughout Talk About Body.
Much like Le Tigre, fearless, attitude-ridden socio-politically themed lyrics echoing themes of sexual compromise and LGBT awareness continue throughout Talk About Body. 'Credit Card Babies', for example, talks of borrowing 'someone's cock', whilst 'Who Am I To Feel So Free' shouts out support for gender and sexual orientation awareness and equality with the lyrics '...changed our names... used our hands... we found options that were better than a man' and talks of 'radical surgery' and 'prosthetic sex' followed by a mob-like, catchy feministic chorus; 'Who am I to feel so free? Who am I?'.
The latter part of Talk About Body seems more sedate and spacey than its' opening, with 'Simultaneously' sounding Bloc Party-like interlocking guitars over electronic beats and pulsing bass; 'If You Want Something' similarly echoes more sedate and spacey over disco house beats. The penultimate track, 'My Family', however, is the albums' undoubted highlight, with an octave-leaping disco bass groove and pounding house drums underpinning punk-y guitar power chords creating an '80's tinged disco-punk kind of vibe.
Combining funk, punk, disco with attitude-ridden, upstanding socio-political themes, Talk About Body is a strong effort heralding promise of great energy from MEN for their upcoming tour.