The Menzingers – Hello Exile (Album Review)

The Menzingers- Hello Exile
Released: 4th October 2019

Line Up:

Greg Barnett // vocals, guitar
Tom May // guitar
Eric Keen // bass
Joe Godino // drums

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The Menzingers started life in 2006 in Scranton, Pennsylvania as a punk rock band, but the band has always had a distinctive rock edge to their music, and this has become more and more prominent as the years have gone by. And this brings us to their most recent release, Hello Exile, in which the punk elements are few and far between.

Opening with ‘America (You’re Freaking Me Out)’ with its driving drum beat and rock infused guitar riffs, the song comments on the political landscape in the US, as evident by the video clip, which uses an alien to reflect the band’s lack of comfort about their homeland. ‘Anna’ follows, a rock ballad about long distance love. While ‘High School Friend’ is a midtempo rock song, with earnest lyrics about the past and the present coming together, with a large dollop of melancholy thrown in.

‘Last To Know’, opens with a slightly grittier guitar riff, and slower pace, evoking a contemplative mood. ‘Strangers Forever’ ups the tempo and has a memorable guitar riff, with Barnett’s vocals straining with emotion, reflecting the juxtaposition between the seemingly happy tune and overtly sad lyrics. Following, is the title track ‘Hello Exile’ a country rock influenced song, with its guitar twangs and steady beat. ‘Portland’ continues the tone of the album; with a consistent drum beat, rock guitar riffs and lyrics about the past and present coming together, as does ‘Strain Your Memory’. ‘I Can’t Stop Drinking’ is an introspective song about a man’s relationship with alcohol and its effects on his relationship.

‘Strawberry Mansion’ kicks it up a notch and is faster and more punk than anything previously on the album. A song about drug use, ‘London Drugs’ is a strong, upbeat tune with a catchy chorus. The album finishes with ‘Farewell Youth’ a song about the band reminiscing their wayward youth and the fond memories it brings.

Hello Exile is a solid rock album. It is heartfelt, emotive and intimate. If you love bands like The Smith Street Band, then this will be right up your alley. It has all the feels.

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The Menzingers – Hello Exile tracklisting:

  1. America (You’re Freaking Me Out)
  2. Anna
  3. High School Friend
  4. Last To Know
  5. Strangers Forever
  6. Hello Exile
  7. Portland
  8. Strain Your Memory
  9. I Can’t Stop Drinking
  10. Strawberry Mansion
  11. London Drugs
  12. Farewell Youth

Rating: 6/10
Hello Exile is out now via Epitaph Records. Grab a copy here
Review by Carys Hurcom @CarysWos

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