The Menzingers – After The Party (Album Review)

The Menzingers – After The Party 

Released: February 3rd, 2017

The Menzingers line up:

Greg Barnett | Guitar/Vocals
Tom May | Guitar/Vocals
Eric Keen | Bass
Joe Godino | Drums

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Oh yeah, oh yeah, everything is terrible” – so opens the 5th album from The Menzingers, and while plenty of people out there would argue that things are terrible in the world right now, a new album from The Menzingers is never a terrible thing. After The Party is an earthy and inoffensive punk rock album that may not change the world, but it’s undeniably an exercise in accomplished songwriting.

After The Party reminisces on trials and tribulations of life in our 20s, but rather than expunging wisdom, it comes off as vaguely morose and mildly depressing. What could have been a celebration of youthful naivety feels more like a dismal statement about the uncertain future that faces so many young people these days (like they needed a reminder). And while that might be an interesting examination in of itself, it doesn’t seem to be what the band was trying to accomplish, resulting in a bit of a disjointed and lacklustre experience for the listener.

See, while the record might be retrospective, it’s not nearly introspective enough. The lyrics sound good, and they make for lovely pull-quotes, but they offer little insight beyond a general feeling of ambivalence. Vocalist Greg Barnett’s lyrics also tend to be a little more obfuscated than anything else and don’t quite live up to the subtle ingenuity of co-vocalist, Tom May. Barnett provides vocal duties on the majority of songs on this record, but it never really feels like he is pushing himself -there seems to be a touch of complacency in his performance that doesn’t exactly bring a sense of excitement to the record.

The album still its fair share of high points. The opening track, “20’s (Tellin’ Lies)” is a great way to kick things off. It’s a fun song that encapsulates The Menzingers sound in a pretty great way. And then there’s “Bad Catholics”, which was a fan-favourite well before the record came out, and seems to have only been included by the sheer willpower of the fandom (not to mention having a refrain that is completely mesmerising). It’s moments like this that remind you of just how talented the band is, unfortunately. most of what’s happening on After the Party doesn’t make for a great punk record. There is a trend of bands offering a more ‘watered down’ version of their sound as they progress through their career, and one would have to hope that this isn’t the direction The Menzingers are heading. With that said, on face value. the music is wonderfully composed. The Menzingers are absolute pros at creating these wonderful singalong anthems – and After the Party has more than enough of them – it’s just this time around they feel a little more beaten down and broken than anything that came before.

I have mixed feelings about this record. I believe that The Menzingers have tried to create something really special with After the Party, but it’s a bit of a ‘swing and a miss’. This record sounds beautiful, and you’ll probably love it on the first few listens but it lacks the staying power of a truly great record and doesn’t quite stack up against The Menzingers own back catalogue.

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The Menzingers – After The Party tracklist

  1. Tellin’ Lies
  2. Thick As Thieves
  3. Lookers
  4. Midwestern States
  5. Charlie’s Army
  6. House On Fire
  7. Black Mass
  8. Boy Blue
  9. Bad Catholics
  10. Your Wild Years
  11. The Bars
  12. After the Party
  13. Livin’ Ain’t Easy

 

Rating: 6.5/10

Review by Dave Mullins

 

the-menzingers-australian-tour-february-2017

The Menzingers – Australian Tour

Thurs Feb 9 – The Reverence Hotel, Melbourne – SOLD OUT

Fri Feb 10 – The Reverence Hotel, Melbourne – SOLD OUT

Sat Feb 11 – Crowbar, Brisbane

Sun Feb 12 – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney

Tix Here

 

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1 Comment on The Menzingers – After The Party (Album Review)

  1. Paul Connolly // February 8, 2017 at 6:56 pm // Reply

    Hmmm. Kinda having the opposite feelings here. The more I listen to it the more I am getting into the songs. Not sure how old Dave is, but having passed through the 20s (and now 30s) I reckon this is a fantastic tribute to a time in your life. I did not hear ‘disjointed’ at all. If anything, if there was any criticism from me, it is that it is a little ‘samey’ in tempo. I think we can both agree it is missing a great F-U songs like “Obituraries”, but practically every songs is a cracker. A very consistent LP and I am glad you mentioned songwriting b/c this is superb. This is an early contender for Album of Year already for me 😉

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