It’s another Tuesday and with it comes new albums and new chances to forget your formerly favorite groups with the words ‘their old stuff was better.’ This week you may have one more shot at the latter. The new album by the M’s is somewhat uneventful, but let’s provide a backdrop for their current situation anyway.
The M’s are five windy city residents who churn out bright rhythmic rock and roll, filled out with Mudhoney-like distortion and the occasional instrumental and percussive experimentation. By now they have brought the world numerous releases, slow-grooving live shows and even their own children. They are currently on the last leg of a North American tour for their new album, Real Close Ones.
Back in their self-titled days the M’s took their music in a bolder direction, very dragging in its psychedelic rock carelessness, very Brian Jonestown Massacre or John Lennon (a-la ‘How Do You Sleep’) at times. Though still very similar, Real Close Ones is less distorted and much more whimsical. Suddenly that carelessness has gone from cool to boring. The introduction to the album, ‘Big Sound,’ never quite decides between harsh psychedelia and brass-sectioned rhythm and blues, so it lingers in ambiguity. The last track, ‘How Could You’ is equally without risk. Some slightly intriguing tracks, however, hide within the lazy monotony. For example, ‘Papers’ is one of the more experimental songs, sounding like something between The Beatles and Super Furry Animals. ‘Days in The Sun’ is particularly Beatles-esque; a microcosm of what the M’s perhaps had intended at the outset of Real Close Ones, as it’s a sincere seventies folk-style song that hints at a psychedelic nature, but doesn’t simply give it away for free.
The M’s have been around too long for one album to let their fans make up their minds one way or another. Knee jerk reactions are not what being a fan is all about. Listen to the album yourself, listen to M’s and Future Women, and go to the shows while these Chi-town rockers are still around. You’ve been given the chance of those five aforementioned damning words, but maybe it’s a chance we should collectively leave behind.