Published Nov 06, 2018In all likelihood, you could fill a room full of fans of the Men without any of them sharing any taste in music in common. That's what happens when your decade-long career spans twice as many genres as it does years. Even on Hated: 2008-2011 — a retrospective on the band's earliest days in the throng of Brooklyn's DIY and punk scene — snippets of folk, bluegrass and psych are scattered throughout. From "Cowboy Song" to "California," the experimental and sporadic nature of the band will no doubt give new listeners pause.
The bulk of the album, however, is a cacophonous, sometimes grating medley of the Men's fledgling material. At its best, Hated encapsulates the unabashed rawness and devil-may-care attitude you'd hope for from an album titled as such, an early blueprint to the heights the band would reach on future work like Leave Home and Immaculada.
At its worst, Hated's lack of audio fidelity and polish makes for a teeth-clenching listen. Tracks like "Twist the Knife" and "Think (7" Version)" sound like they were recorded on a water damaged smartphone, and it's a wonder how they came to light at all.
Nonetheless, for those fans of the Men who prefer the more aggressive side of their catalogue, there's a lot to sift through across Hated's 17 songs: Rhythmically rich punk from "Saucy" and "Walking Out on Love"; harsher hardcore noise through "Ailment" and "Impish"; instrumental jams on "Wasted" and "Captain Ahab." Despite its shortcomings, Hated is indicative of the Men's savvy and creativity from the very outset, and offers an interesting glimpse into yesterday's underground. (Sacred Bones)