Are you tired of musicians that take themselves too seriously? Do you crave pop without the added baggage of an immaculate front woman? When you tune into the radio, do you hope for something upbeat and cathartic? Do you find yourself repeatedly thumping your car’s steering wheel in absolute horror at what you do find? Sounds like you need some MEN, and stat!
This may sound like housewife propaganda, but I digress. As the new owner of a car so old it’s limited to a cassette player, I’ve been chained to Radio One for the past two months, and I’ve found myself focusing in on the lyrics used in mainstream pop songs. My blood has started to boil. I’ve see red. Several times I’ve caught my fists in the air. I don’t understand how some artists are approved for air play; particularly when Brooklyn’s finest offer a far less stressful alternative.
Of course, it helps that Talk About Body is superior in quality and fun. MEN are comprised of JD Samson, Michael O’Neill and Ginger Brooks, but seek enough creative guidance from Joanna Fateman and Emily Roysdon for the two to be unofficially included in their line up. Ultimately, without wanting to diminish the importance of their new venture, Samson and Fateman have picked up where Le Tigre left off.
However, here are some poignant differences – besides the absence of Kathleen Hanna. Samson’s penchant for DJ noodling is notable: beats and fuzz creep into every corner until they devoir ‘Take Your Shirt Off’ and ‘Simultaneously’. In those instances, MEN draw better comparison to Sleigh Bells. Nothing’s unrecognisable – ‘Off Our Backs’ and ‘My Family’ touch down on familiar ground – but the trio aren’t afraid to progress. Whatever direction they take, Talk About Body blasts glitter charged bullets into the mainstream crowd and emerges brandishing the empowering ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free’.
Unlike the majority of pop releases, this album’s sentiment is far from mindless. MEN have wrapped their material up in issues concerning trans-awareness, sexual ambiguity and most importantly of all, liberation. Wearing your motivations on your sleeve without resorting to aggression is admirable, particularly regarding such an important and shamefully unpromoted topic. Setting those wise words to fun is inspired – this is brainwashing of the best kind. Now play them on the God damn radio!