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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Menzingers

From John N comes the latest disc from The Menzingers, "After the party"....quite good, quirly lyrics
about aging, power-popping/ska tinged hard rock, "Post-30 punk" as the review calls it......really nearly every track here is a winner, and, again, pay special lyrical attention to this one, some cool songwriting here.

"Lookers" is a standout track, but, really, no problems here at all.....damn solid release. From Scranton, PA, mentioned of course because it is the home of the Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company! (Humor me I'm a TV addict)

AFTER THE PARTY-01 Tellin Lies/02 Thick as Thieves/03 Lookers/04 Midwestern States/05 Charlie's Army/06 House on Fire/07 Black Mass/08 Boy Blue/09 Bad Catholics/10 Your Wild Years/11 The Bars/12 After the party/13 Livin' Ain't Easy

The Menzingers are classic rock bards withEXPIRED Warped Tour laminates, as rooted in Social Distortion and ska as they are Springsteen and Kerouac. This is their thing, and five albums in, they have it so down that it threatens to leave nothing to the imagination. Their fiercely beloved and unabashedly nostalgic dirtbag opus On the Impossible Pastchallenged Celebration Rock for 2012’s most accurately titled album. Its follow-up led off with “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore,” which emphatically slam-dunked its premise andLEFTthe rest of the dispirited Rented World to pick up the shattered backboard. And if there’s any doubt about what After the Party is getting at, the very first chorus rants “Where we gonna go now that our 20s are over?” 
“Post-30 punk” feels like a subgenre of a subgenre at this point: age isn’t aNUMBER for Beach Slang, it’s a nullity, whereasJapandroids embraced maturity with the same legendary fire as their younger selves. After the Party works with more typical talking points: the buzz is shorter and the hangovers are longer. Can I hide these tattoos at my day job? Is playing Minor Threat on laptop speakers keeping it real or just lame? Am I too old to beSLEEPINGon floors? Am I too old to be too broke to afford a hotel?
 On first glance, single “Lookers” plays too much to stereotype, name-dropping Dean and Sal, “Julie from the Wonder Bar” and a hook of “Jersey girls are always total heartbreakers!” (also, lookers). Maybe it’s the “sha la la la!” in the chorus, but “Lookers” has a self-aware, sarcastic edge, an added pain of looking back on a seemingly rebellious youth and seeing just another kind of conformity. The MenzingersEARN the benefit of the doubt when “Thick as Thieves” opens with a sly skewering of the songwriting process (“I held up a liquor store/ Demanding topshelf metaphors”) and “Tellin’ Lies” hits on a point where the difference between 29 and 31 really does feel like an entire decade: “When buying marijuana makes you feel like a criminal / When your new friends take a joke too literal.”
But this is a Menzingers album, so the laughs are momentary and ultimately futile deflections of fear. The narrators in these songs are people racing through their 20s who find themselves trapped in tour vans or, most of the time, relationships they can't convince themselves they deserve. “Midwestern States” provides a gutting account of a codependent and deeply-in-love couple couch-surfing across the country, unsure of when things will ever be different as theirOPTIONS and prospects dwindle with each passing year. 
The Menzingers’ way with an anthem never fails them, even when the tough talkin’ boyfriends on “Charlie’s Army” and “Bad Catholics” lack definition beyond their bluster (“To everyone you’re such a sweet church girl/but I know your secret”), or the record’s best melody searches for the rest of a proper song (HOUSE on Fire”). After the Party mightACTUALLY be too well-designed for jukeboxes, as the relentless, face-to-the-glass production results in the sad cowpoke shuffle of “Black Mass” and the Meatloaf-inspired “The Bars” clocking in at about the same volume as everything else, denying a dynamic range that’s needed on a record that lives up to itsTITLE by sticking around one or two songs longer than it probably should.
At least it seems that way until “Livin’ Ain’t Easy.” The preceding title track could’ve easily been an exit ramp for Menzingers, a wizened, hard-earned moment of contentment where a couple looks back on their drunken nights and wake-n-bakes to a new morning, confiding, “after the party, it’s me and you.” But on the very next song, singer Greg Barnett remembers the foreclosure sign in the yard and the emptyBANK ACCOUNT, and hits I-80 to another show that will surely be the start of someone else’s debauchery. After the Party, though? It’s the hotel lobby and, “they’re always out of coffee.”  



  2. Anything remotely as good as i dont wanna be an asshole anymore on this release?

    1. more than few songs outshine the one you mention, IMO

    2. Ok...I will have to give it a listen then.

  3. Not my cup of tea I was thinking... but listened 3 in a row.

  4. Locals boys done good. We live 20 minutes tops away from where the guys grew up and played. Aces!

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