Certain Songs #1126: The Men – “Oscillation”

Album: Open Your Heart
Year: 2012

Hailing from Brooklyn, The Men have the misfortune of playing a wide variety of rock styles — mostly fast, but not always punk, even though that’s the usual shorthand for how they’re described — in an era where nobody gives a shit about bands who do that.

Well, that isn’t entirely true. It’s not so much that nobody gives a shit, but rather the culture at large has gone away from straight-ahead rock and roll, so the most they’re ever going to get out of it is a few good reviews and maybe some sold-out shows.

And the frustration that they’re never going to ever be heard by people who might like them. I guess it was ever thus, but at least in the last century, there was the expectation that if you were a young person in a rock band and made a record that things might happen, as it was still theoretically culturally relevant.

Anyways, none of that has anything to do with the music on The Men’s breakthrough album, 2012’s Open Your Heart which alternated overdriven punk thrashers like “Please Don’t Go Away,” overdriven psychedelic drones like “Presence,” and overdriven countryesque songs like “Country Song.”

And in the middle of it all was the overdriven psychedelic thrasher, “Oscillation.”

Starting out quiet for about half a minute, “Oscillation” picks up steam when drummer Rich Samis comes in at the 40-second mark, and after that, it’s off to the races, as Samis alternates between straight out hypersonic thrash and tornado drum rolls for the rest of the song, a la Grant Hart.

Over that, guitarists Mark Perro & Nick Chiericozzi each pick a speaker and alternating between slashing rhythm and searing lead guitars, far more controlled than you would think at first, as the song ascends and ascends.

There are some words too, but they’re spoken, and seem to be there just so that “Oscillation” isn’t categorized as the instrumental it obviously wants to be.

“Oscillation”

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