On the surface, being a fan of The Men can be a confusing little hobby. Watching the Brooklyn five-piece's transformation over the three years - and four records - since their debut full-length, Immaculada, dropped in 2010 has made for fascinating viewing. The volatility that marked that initial introduction and its fiery follow-up, Leave Home, has gradually extended to all areas of their art, even if they may not be mining quite the same nihilistic noise rock as they once were. Sure, Open Your Heart and this year's stellar New Moon may not pummel you with quite the malevolence their predecessors did, but they still attack with a violence - albeit a more seductive one - that's hard to draw parallels to.

So, what happens when you strip back these songs into more primitive, unadulterated forms as the quintet do on Campfire Songs? Well, as even the most basic of scientific experiments will tell you: the energy has to go somewhere. Across the EP's five tracks (re-imaginings of New Moon's 'I Saw Her Face' and 'The Seeds', B-side 'Water Babies', and fresh cuts 'Turn Your Color' and 'Patience'), you're left with the feeling that you could almost imagine singing these tunes around that titular campfire: almost. Instead, they ooze with an unnerving portent; as if the camper sat next to you is whispering in your ear, "Hey. I don't mean to alarm you. But that guy to your right has a pick-axe and he's staring daggers at you."

Opener 'I Saw Her Face' instantly adopts this manifesto. A cursory listen could nearly pass it for the sort of lo-fi, twee gem you might find on a coffee-stained reel of tape in Calvin Johnson's basement. Scooch in a little closer though, and what's that? There's a low-end undercurrent that renders it utterly terrifying: those murmuring, slightly discordant bass moans that keep reminding you to check over your shoulder. These cats got knives behind their backs.

'The Seeds', meanwhile, heads for equally sweet but sneaky territory. In its Campfire Songs guise, it's a nonchalant love song. Against a backdrop of jangling, countrified acoustics and shakers (or are they cicadas?), vocalist Mark Perro dons the Malkmus/Moore surfer drawl, steals the heart of many a tatted honey and heads for the hills. 'Water Babies' maintains a similarly muffled nature, capturing that after-hours moment in which madness turns to genius and back again.

'Turn Your Color' builds with all the hypnotic intensity of John Cale's most mesmerising viola meanderings. In fact, replace its wayward pastoralism with downtown druggy-ness and you'd likely be left with something that would fit perfectly on The Velvet Underground & Nico or White Light/White Heat, albeit if Phil Elverum called the shots in the studio.

Ending with what's quite possibly Campfire Songs' angriest moment, 'Patience' is one final thrash around the bonfire; the sort of whiskey-breathed jam we've all trawled through with friends after a boozy evening. Or at least we would have if our social circles were made up of Jeff Tweedy, Spiral Stairs and Bill Callahan. For what's essentially a novelty record from a perplexing, if very intelligent, band, this one's purring pretty damn nicely indeed.