Based on their name, I assumed (wrongly) that Men Without Pants was some kind of satirical 80s-style band, poking fun of the masterminds behind my greatest guilty pleasure, Men Without Hats. Boy was I surprised to learn that Men Without Pants is Russell (Tiny Masters of Today, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) Simins; Dan The Automator, one of the best hip-hop producers in the business, whose CV includes projects like Handsome Boy Modeling School, Dr. Octagon, The Gorillaz, and Deltron 3030; and the guitarists from The Mooney Suzuki and Mercury Rev, two stellar indie bands. Also appearing on this jam-fest headbanger are Sean Lennon, Pelle (vocalist from The Hives), members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Mooney Suzuki and Cibo Matto. Okay, so I prepared myself for a serious listen. What hit me was something between White Zombie, Pearl Jam, and Queens of the Stoneage.
â€œIf Youâ€™re Thinking of Me Tonightâ€ is a stadium rocker worthy of the Killers. â€œAnd the Girl Goâ€ is vintage Eagles of Death Metal power-chord-chant rock. â€œI Doâ€ is the rare slow song here (by which I mean it doesnâ€™t propel itself forward mercilesslyâ€”but it is far from slow), and it features really a interesting noodly lead guitar line. There are a few monotonous clunkers here (â€œNever Gonna Do That Again,â€ â€œSuperfineâ€), but only a few. And even those are better than most of what youâ€™ll find today.
How does Dan the Automator fit in here? It sounds odd to have a hip hop producer behind what may be the yearâ€™s best hard rock album, but donâ€™t forget heâ€™s also worked with Primal Scream, the Eels, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. This album is simply extraordinary. Donâ€™t miss it.