Having undergone a decade of upheaval and self-discovery through their twenties, The Menzingers enter their thirties in introspective mood on fifth album, ‘After The Party’. A collection of stellar blue-collar punk anthems, it sees the Philly punks once again wear their hearts on their sleeves to life-affirming effect. Like a good friend who you don’t see enough of, The Menzingers open themselves with well-balanced relatability and nostalgia.
Opening with ‘Tellin’ Lies’, the Philadelphia quartet set the sentimental tone early on with the energetic chorus line of “what do we do now our twenties are over?” It welcomes the idea that the band are growing old but not quite ready to move on.
Throughout, Greg Barnett and Tom May exchange lead vocal duties, yet both deliver their words with weathered conviction. Combined with their punchy, poignant, nostalgia, The Menzingers are unstoppable. From the beer-fuelled nights on ‘Thick As Thieves’ to the fondness of former Jersey lovers (‘Lookers’) and tales of spontaneous trips and inside jokes on ‘Midwestern States’, they have used the experiences of youth to their benefit.
Despite the reflective tone, songs such as ‘House on Fire’ and ‘Charlie’s Army’ are rousing and infectious, with only ‘Black Mass’ and ‘The Bars’ emphasising the melancholy lyrical nature. The former is a stripped-back ode to past relationships, while the latter momentarily wallows in late night drinking before waltzing away with a beer-soaked swagger. The title track carries itself wistfully with hope, as Barnett anthemically looks forward to life with a companion, while ‘Your Wild Years’ is a winning highlight with the effective chorus of “a little Irish in your blood, a little Polish in your name, a little Boston in your attitude, just the way you were raised”.
Currently in a rich seam, The Menzingers make it a hat-trick with ‘After The Party’, proving they are one of the most consistent bands around today. With its anthemic prowess and lyrical heart, it’s a flawless album that should be embraced by all punks and beyond.
‘After The Party’ by The Menzingers is released 3rd February on Epitaph Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)