Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Album Review: MEN - Talk About Body

With a giant pink triangle on the album cover, song names like ‘Who Am I To Feel So Free’ and an androgynous lead singer, MEN feel like a band designed exclusively for the LGBTQ community. Which is fine - but unfortunately, it feels like it's simply covering for the severe lack of musical talent on display.

Talk About Body is the debut album from MEN, who are the latest project of cult lesbian icon JD Samson (previously of Le Tigre and, more recently, an appearance on Christina Aguilera’s last album).

If you’ve ever listened to Le Tigre or the Tigre-inspired Brazilian band CSS, you’ll know exactly what to expect from MEN: electropop with a sprinkling of guitar rock over the top. Where Samson’s new band differs is a more playful attitude, with less atmosphere and more catchy beats.

Unfortunately, Talk About Body has two underlying issues. Firstly, that the sound explored by Samson et al has already dated in the ever-changing world of dance music, with plenty of indie bands having combined synths and guitars to much more interesting results within the last decade.

The second problem is considerably more fundamental. Simply put, these aren’t great songs. The melodies are basic, the choruses are shout-happy and the songs that do show potential go on for far too long. Quieter jams later on the album like ‘If You Want Something’ are more interesting than any desperately fun tracks like ‘Credit Card Babie$’.

MEN may claim to focus on “the energy of live performance and the radical potential of dance music”, but on Talk About Body, the band definitely appear to have forgotten about the latter.

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