I have no idea how the Marked Men do it. They are, musically, much smarter than I’ll ever be. How is it that four notes into the first new song, it’s instantly recognizable as a Marked Men song, yet, song after song there are surprises? How is it, that listen after listen, the songs take off their initial masks and reveal new surprises, new dimensions, new faces? How can songs be so layered, so that the tenth time you listen to it, it’s different than the first time you heard it, but it had such a visceral, immediate initial impact? I. Have. No. Idea. I’m not one to compare the Marked Men to themselves. I have everything, from their first 7” on Mortville to this, their last (probably) album, and it all hits different pleasure centers. If, by some chance, you’re reading this, saying to yourself, “Well, what do they sound like, dummy, so I can make a choice here?” Regardless of your financial situation, I suggest you do some saving and pick up anything put out by the Marked Men. This record will probably be the most available. (Their previous vinyl has been woefully under pressed, but I’ve been assured that steps are being taken to rectify that situation.) I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: the Marked Men are at the contemporary pinnacle of what it means to make your own music, control every aspect of recording it, and have the time to perfect it. If you’re holding Razorcake and like it somewhat, odds are in your favor that you’ll love the Marked Men. It’s early February when I’m writing this and there’s no doubt that this record is in the top ten of 2009. It’s impossible that it’ll be surpassed by nine other records; of that I’m absolutely sure.