The Men: New Moon

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The Men, a punk band from Brooklyn have released their latest album New Moon. While it has an interesting mix of songs ranging from country to loud hard hitting rock, ultimately the effort falls flat, mainly due to a lack of direction. The album’s first track Open The Door, is a soft country tune that will make fans of the band question what happened in the year since they released Open Your Heart, full of fast punk songs the band is known for.  While it is okay for a band to share their ideas and to try and make a new path, they should provide listeners with a sense of direction, which is something New Moon is lacking. By opening with a country song and then heading into a noisy rock tune the path leading to a cohesive album seems scattered and disjointed.

Without A Face is a dancy track that adds in a harmonica into the midst of trying to play fast attention grabbing music, making it seem like the group pieced together ideas for a song without any organization. While this song has a thumping bass line to drive the song, by the time the song ends, the band might as well be out of breath, since speed seems to be more important than being able to play well.

While the band seems to enjoy quantity over quality on New Moon, the real gem on the record is a slow country ballad titled High and Lonesome. The calming song leans towards the softer sounds heard on Open The Door and shows immense musical ability. However, the soothing mood is short lived, with the closing tune Supermoon taking another sharp turn back to the noise, hastening the need for an Advil to get through the song. While previous releases by The Men seem to have been focused on quality, New Moon is tremendously lacking in quality. By the time their next album comes around hopefully The Men will get back to playing punk rock music which is what they do best.

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Kelly Campbell: Sweet Therapy

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Kelly Campbell, a singer-songwriter from Ohio, has released a five-song EP entitled Sweet Therapy. While Campbell herself claims not to have natural talent when it comes to music, this recording proves otherwise. Throughout the album, not not only does her musical skill stand out, but her band’s tightness and fluidity add to the solid musical performance.

The record begins with “Sweet Therapy,” a song that addresses how music can provide solace for many of life’s situations whether happy or sad. The song is a folk tune with shades of country, featuring Campbell’s voice and showing off her talented backing band who support her well. The band paints a colorful backdrop for Campbell, allowing her to express herself, vocally, lyrically, and musically.

“Cody’s Song” is about accepting people for who they are. The song tackles some subjects that are not always happy, yet it maintains a hopeful and gleeful feeling musically. “Something Beautiful In You,” a ballad about Kelly recognizing the beauty in those close to her, is a simple song. But in its simplicity expresses a deep, personal sincerity.

Sweet Therapy is an enjoyable musical venture. Kelly Campbell writes rich and vibrant songs sure to leave a lasting impression. And with Sweet Therapy, Campbell offers an album that both uplifts and inspires.