Follow Us on Twitter

MEN – Talk About Body

MEN, Talk About Body

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

WHO says that songs about hot button topics can’t be fun or made to dance along to? Certainly not MEN!

Never ones to shy away from tackling controversy, MEN also exist to have fun and make you dance. Talk About Body, their album, engages the brain while making your hips swivel and gyrate. It’s smart, it’s funky, it’s provocative and it’s great fun.

MEN are a Brooklyn-based band and art/performance collective consisting of core members JD Samson (Le Tigre) Michael O’Neill (Ladybug Transistor) and Ginger Brooks Takahashi (LTTR).

The group began in 2007 with the DJ/production/remix team of Le Tigre members JD Samson and Johanna Fateman. With Le Tigre on hiatus, when the duo began to write new songs, it made sense to merge their efforts with JD’s other new project Hirsute.

JD and Hirsute members Michael and Ginger now comprise the core of MEN, with Johanna and artist Emily Roysdon contributing as writers, consultants and producers.

Their music speaks of issues such as wartime economies, sexual compromise and the demand for liberties through lyrical content and an inventive, high energy stage show.

Sometimes, they’re giddiness goes into overdrive and sounds like a glam-pop indulgence that would even leave Scissor Sisters’ giddy.

But when they get things right, they’re an irresistible act. Album opener, Life’s Half Price, for instance, drops a fantastic throbbing synth bass-line (thereby establishing its dance-floor credentials from the outset) and cuts a funky strut into your musical sub-conscious.

While Credit Card Babies really mixes the provocative with the deftly catchy, ruminating on a gay couple’s desire to have a child and the environmental cost of doing so, while belting out provocative, sing-along lyrics such as “I’m gonna fuck my friends and make a tiny baby”.

If Boom Boom Boom marks one of the over-indulged moments, then Take Your Shirt Off extols the virtues of activism while mixing it with some upbeat, vaguely hypnotic funk.

And Who Am I To Feel So Free manages to combine anger over the state of the economy with dance-ability.

Simultaneously, meanwhile, drops a thrilling beat and some ultra-cute guitar licks (that veer towards the indie) over one of the most infectious, catchy concoctions on the LP (think MGMT).

Admittedly, there are moments that veer towards the repetitive (If You Want Something) and less appealing. But MEN do have the uncanny ability to come back strong even after the odd disappointment.

Hence, a track like Rip Off, which proclaims ‘orange juice is the centre of the world’, marks a return to the infectious values and sly lyricism that more often marks this fun, funky and astute debut album. Like we said, point-making and thought-provoking has seldom seemed so much like an excuse to have a good time.

Download picks: Life’s Half Price, Credit Card Babies, Simultaneously, Rip Off

Track listing:

  1. Life’s Half Price
  2. Off Our Backs
  3. Credit Card Babies
  4. Boom Boom Boom
  5. Take Your Shirt Off
  6. Who Am I To Feel So Free
  7. Make It Reverse
  8. Simultaneously
  9. If You Want Something
  10. Rip Off
  11. My Family
  12. Be Like This