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Album Review: The Menzingers – ‘After the Party’

Is there ever a better time in a person’s life than their 20’s? Depending on what path your life takes, probably not. For many young people, particularly those who went to college straight out of high school, being a twenty-something is the first time they get to experience any real freedom. Sure, things aren’t exactly the greatest right now- everyone is in debt up to their necks, the job market doesn’t show any visible signs of getting better, and the rent, as always, is too damn high. But at the same time, these are problems that should work themselves out when you’re older. For now, it’s time to live it up and party.  

So, then, what do you do once you hit the big 3-0? As it turns out, exiting your twenties doesn’t automatically make you an adult and there’s always more growing up to do. Questioning your life’s turns or trying to make life meaningful have always been good fodder for artists, but for those of us who grew up in the late 90’s and early aughts, we not only have to find our place in the world, we have to find our place in a world that doesn’t have room for us.

This brings us to the main thesis of The Menzingers’ fifth studio album, After the Party: “Where are we gonna go now that our twenties are over?” The question burns through the album’s first track, the Jeff Rosenstock-esque ripper “Tellin’ Lies,” though the sentiment is repeated over and over again throughout the album, with verses dedicated to the worthlessness of [expensive] degrees received in the name of pleasing parents, and an entire song reflecting on being the only one left out well past last call. Album highlight “House on Fire” turns up the heat of that question with the opening line “Waiting for your life to start then you die” and its refrain “Does it make you nervous? Have you fulfilled your purpose? Yeah, does it make you nervous- the house is on fire” only pushes the urgency felt by people entering adulthood only to realize that there’s more to being an adult than turning 30.

After the Party is more than just worrying about the future, however, and The Menzingers are just as able to look back at their history and draw influence from it and vocalist/guitarist Greg Barnett continues to put his best foot forward when it comes to nostalgia-driven songs. First singles “Lookers” and “Bad Catholics” are two sides of the same coin- the former fondly recalls a flame that has since extinguished, while the latter has Barnett coming to the realization that sometimes feelings disappear and romanticizing a lost love is just that: romanticization. “Your Wild Years” is reminiscent of one of Barnett’s older tracks “Casey,” albeit with a greater emphasis on the person rather than the foolish deeds committed with them, showing his evolution as a writer. Meanwhile, the band’s other singer, Tom May, only takes the lead on four tracks, but his abstract approach to lyricism has never been more sharp (just take a look at his very first line on the album, “I held up a liquor store demanding top shelf metaphors”).

In a mini-interview with Alternative Press last December, May was asked if the new album would be more “Rented World or On the Impossible Past?” and May flat out responded “On the Impossible Past.” And in a sense, it’s true. Musically speaking, After the Party isn’t as explorative as its predecessor Rented World, with many of the tracks sticking to the band’s soulful brand of bouncing punk rock, with plenty of hooks that Mick Jones would have written if he had grown up in Scranton in 1997. There are still some other styles to be found: you can almost hear the syncopated upstroke influence of Bob and the Sagets in “Tellin’ Lies,” the full-song-length-interlude “Black Mass” is driven by a steadily thumping bass and softly strummed guitars, and “The Bars” features Irish waltzing, not unlike on Masharimdaba, the band’s overlooked covers single released on St. Patrick’s Day 2016. All-in-all, however, After the Party focuses on tightening up the sound that The Menzingers are best known for already.

For all their pondering and searching, The Menzingers never find an answer to their question. Maybe it’s because there never was just one single way to be 30 years old in the first place. Sure, there’s the train of thought that older generations keep pushing: get a job, get married, have kids, and die, but it’s foolish to ignore that there are new factors to take into account, primarily economic, that have made growing up more complicated these days. The closest thing that comes to a satisfying conclusion is that “only a fool would think that living could be easy,” because living is anything but easy.

4.5 / 5

RIYL: The Replacements, Jeff Rosenstock, The Gaslight Anthem



The Menzingers stream another new track “Thick As Thieves”

The Menzingers are streaming another new track ahead of their Epitaph album “After The Party”, which is out this Friday. The track, “Thick As Thieves” follows on from the release of the record’s title track earlier this month.

You can listen to “Thick As Thieves” below.



The Menzingers stream new track “After The Party”

The Menzingers are streaming a new song, “After The Party”, over on Stereogum. The track is the title song from their new album, out February 3rd on Epitaph. Pre-orders are up now.

The band will also play a string of east coast in-store dates during album release week, before a lengthy tour. Full details below.



The Menzingers release new video “Lookers”

The Menzingers have released a video for “Lookers”, another track from their upcoming album “After The Party”. This track follows last month’s video for “Bad Catholics“.

The album is out on February 3rd via Epitaph Records. Digital pre-orders are up now.

You can watch the video below.



The Menzingers announce US headline tour & release music video for “Bad Catholics”

The Menzingers have announced a headline tour of the United States, following the release of their upcoming album “After the Party” and starting on February 26, 2017. You can find tour dates and locations below.

The Menzingers will be supported by Rozwell Kid for the whole tour, and Jeff Rosenstock for almost all dates. In addition to the tour The Menzingers will also be playing three in-store dates on the east coast during album release week. These dates will be listed below as well. “After the Party” is set to release February 3, 2017 via Epitaph Records. You can pre-order a copy here.

And finally The Menzingers have released a music video for their latest track, “Bad Catholics.” You can find the video below the tour dates.



The Menzingers release details of new album; stream new song – “Bad Catholics”

The Menzingers have now released final details on their new album, After The Party. We now know the album is due out February 3, 2017 via Epitaph Records. You can pre-order a copy here. Check out the cover art to the left and the full tracklisting below.

Also below, you’ll find a stream of “Bad Catholics,” the newly-released single from the album. You can listen to the first single, “Lookers,” right here.

After The Party is the followup to The Menzingers’ 2014 album, Rented World.



The Menzingers stream new song “Lookers”

A few months after wrapping up the recording of a new album titled After the PartyThe Menzingers have premiered what seems to be the LP’s first single.

The song is titled “Lookers,” and you can check it out below.

Though it has not been confirmed that this track will appear on After the Party, it seems likely. Stay tuned for more details on the follow-up to 2014’s Rented World.



The Bouncing Souls announce European tour with The Menzingers & Roger Harvey

Following their recently-announced run of U.K. shows with PEARS, New Jersey punk veterans The Bouncing Souls will embark on a European tour with The Menzingers and Roger Harvey.

Check out all of the dates and locations below.

The Bouncing Souls’ new album Simplicity will release on July 29th through Rise Records. In addition to serving as a follow-up to 2012’s Comet, it will be their first record with new drummer George Rebelo, who joined the band in 2013.



The Menzingers finish recording new album “After The Party”

Great news for fans of The Menzingers! The band just posted on their facebook that they’ve finished recording their 5th studio album with producer Will Yip. Only details we have is that they’re dubbing this one “After The Party” but we’ll keep you posted as more info comes to light.

“After The Party” will be a follow up to their last full-length “Rented World” released via Epitaph Records in 2014.



Bayside announce details of new album, ‘Vacancy’ & tour with The Menzingers, Sorority Noise

New York pop-punk act Bayside have announced the details of their new album, which we now know is titled Vacancy. Check out the artwork to the left, and the tracklisting below.

The album is due out August 19th on Hopeless Records. You can pre-order your copy right here.

Along with the album details, the band announced a US tour with The Menzingers and Sorority Noise. Take a look at those dates/locations below the album info.

Bayside’s previous release was a deluxe edition of their 2014 album, Cult, titled Cult: White Edition, which came out in March of 2015 via Hopeless Records.

 



Bobby Barnett (Captain, We’re Sinking) releases live solo LP

Recently Bobby Barnett of Captain, We’re Sinking toured the UK with his brother Greg from The Menzingers. They hit up the Star and Garter in Manchester and Bobby’s full performance that night was recorded. The performance was put up on bandcamp for five bucks and the download comes with a bonus track called “Food” which Bobby describes as “well, you’ll see” as well as a “poorly made” video. You can stream the full album below.



The Menzingers stream new EP ‘Masharimdaba’

The Menzingers have released a surprise EP for St. Patrick’s Day. Titled Masharimdaba, the two song release is made up of two covers; The Pogues’ “Dirty Old Town” and the traditional tune “Whiskey in the Jar” and you can stream it below.

The Menzingers last released Rented World in 2014 via Epitaph Records. They are reportedly working on a follow up.



The Menzingers writing a new album

Looks like fans of The Menzingers can start getting excited for new music. The Pennsylvania foursome recently published an instagram post stating simply “Time to write an album.” No other information as of yet but we’ll definitely keep you posted.

A new album would be a follow up to their last full-length “Rented World” which was released via Epitaph Records in 2014.



Video: The Menzingers preform “Kentucky Gentlemen” at the Ratio Beerworks Taproom

Those fine folks over at Ratio Beerworks just released a video of The Menzingers delivering a live performance of their song “Kentucky Gentlemen”. Check it out below.



Greg Barnett (Menzingers) & Bobby Barnett (Captain, We’re Sinking) announce UK tour

Greg Barnett of The Menzingers and Captain We’re Sinking‘s Bobby Barnett have announced they will be touring the UK together in early 2016. Dates and locations can be found below.

The Menzingers’ latest album Rented World released in 2013 through Epitaph Records. Captain, We’re Sinking released a self-titled compilation album earlier this year on Bandcamp.