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Preview: The Men with Lovie Dovies

Noah Bonaparte Pais on the band coming to the Circle Bar May 30

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Go back in time — not that far, say May 2011 — and tell a member of The Men that in two years the band would employ a full-time lap steel guitarist and draw Tom Petty comparisons, and they'd have either laughed you out of the building or staged a human sacrifice to the blown-out Wiccan rituals "Think" and "L.A.D.O.C.H." If that member was former bassist Christopher Hansell, the sacrifice would be his own. The primordial force behind Leave Home's stormy hardcore audible would not survive that album's tour cycle, replaced on 2012's Open Your Heart by the band's audio engineer, Ben Greenberg, on bass and by lap steel player Kevin Faulkner in spirit. Immediately, these were different Men: shoegaze and punk became classic rock and power pop, the diversion routes marked not by guttural outbursts but by motorik grooves (seven-minute droner "Oscillation"), slide rule (self-explanatory "Country Song") or, in one rare case (the Kafkaesque "Presence"), both. Led by a shuffling, sun-setting piano ballad ("Open the Door"), March release New Moon (Sacred Bones) completes the metamorphosis, squashing any hope of reawakening the beast in its reckless pursuit of other, older muses. "Half Angel Half Light" and "The Seeds" are near-perfect alt-'80s bar rockers, while the back-to-back placement of "High and Lonesome" and "The Brass" — the quietest and loudest tracks — is both side change and olive branch: Everyone wins. Lovey Dovies open. Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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