The Men – Campfire Songs EP (Sacred Bones)

The Men – Campfire Songs EP (Sacred Bones)

Make no mistake this is much more Blair Witch than it is Baden-Powell. Despite its cosy title and the fact that for this EP New York City’s The Men stepped outside of the studio where they were recording their last album New Moon and unplugged their electric guitars, Campfire Songs is not an excuse for them to suddenly hunker down around the open flames toasting marshmallows. By the time of New Moon it is true that The Men had shifted from their original post-punk hard-core stance into a more conventional take on rock n roll but the five songs that comprise Campfire Songs are not evidence of them now having gone completely soft round the edges.

The first two tracks, ‘I Saw Her Face’ and ‘The Seeds’ are acoustic versions of songs that first appeared on New Moon. The straightforward rock groove of the former is here transformed into a muffled, shuffling beat bristling with intent and a hint of menace whilst the latter’s Big Star heart is now finally revealed for all to see. First released earlier this year as the B-side of the ‘Electric’ single, ‘Water Babies’ could now quite easily appear on some lo-fi re-issue soundtrack for Reservoir Dogs. The first of two new songs ‘Turn Your Colour’ assumes a dark cloak of psychedelic drone while the other, ‘Patience’ brings to mind the shamanism and ritual chanting first heard on ‘Presence’ from their third album Leave Home.

The Campfire Songs EP is released on 14th October 2013 through Sacred Bones. The limited edition 12” EP comes complete with a 12-page photo book 11.5″ × 11.5″ insert featuring previously  unseen black & white photographs shot during these recording sessions by The Men’s bassist and lap-steel player Kevin Faulkner.

Rating: ★★★½☆


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