Thirty-plus years after the proto-punk movement dissolved, young bands still dive into the sludge, bringing back the menacing bash of The Stooges and The Heartbreakers, and all the primal romanticism those bands represent. Mannequin Men's sophomore LP, Fresh Rot, strings together anthems of disaffection as thick as rope, from the nihilist shout-along "We Are Invisible" to the aching ballad "22nd Century," with its line, "You don't want to love me / You don't want to let me out of reach." These songs are loud, sloppy, and soaring, but with an element of syrupy drag, as though the boys were playing through a heroin haze. Whether they actually are doesn't matter. For throwback punk, believing is everything.
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