Pennsylvanian combo, the Menzingers, play a lyrical and passionate strain of punk, rife with big melodies and energy. After establishing themselves in the latter part of the 2000s, they joined the Epitaph roster and really began to hit their stride with 2012's acclaimed On the Impossible Past, which landed on a number of year-end critic's lists. Subsequent albums like 2017's After the Party and 2019's Hello Exile saw the Menzingers honing their sound, taking a more introspective, though no less powerful approach. Though they would later relocate to nearby Philadelphia, the Menzingers came together as teenagers in Scranton, Pennsylvania and included former members of local ska-punk bands Bob & the Sagets and Kos Mos. Co-frontmen Tom May (vocals, guitar) and Greg Barnett vocals, guitar), along with bassist Eric Keen and drummer Joe Godino, released a self-titled demo in 2006, which found its way to the office of Go-Kart Records and subsequently earned the band a spot on the label's roster. The Menzingers' debut full-length, A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology, came out in the summer of 2007. The record went over well and the band found its name spreading steadily among punk fans, especially among fans of groups like the Lawrence Arms and Against Me!. They soon hooked up with Red Scare Industries for 2009's four-song EP, Hold on Dodge, then headed back into the studio to work with producer Matt Allison on their next full-length, Chamberlain Waits, which was issued amid growing hype in April 2010. The following year, the Menzingers signed on with punk giant Epitaph Records, and in 2012 they released their third, more mature album, On the Impossible Past. The band continued to grow and refine their sound, incorporating elements of earthy and earnest heartland rock into their sound, a trend that was evident on their 2014 album, Rented World. Working with producer Will Yip on 2017's After the Party, the Menzingers reflected on hitting their thirties and reminisced about their younger days, turning in a passionate, big-hearted release loaded with melody. This introspective streak continued on 2019's Hello Exile, which also explore themes of political and personal turmoil. ~ Corey Apar
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 17, 2012 | Epitaph
Pairing punk energy with roots rock warmth, the Menzingers continue to mature their sound on their third album, On the Impossible Past. The album finds the band delivering a wryly nostalgic performance, giving a nod to their punk roots as they embrace the rugged earnestness of the Rust Belt with songs about broken hearts, loneliness, and self-doubt. While a lot of bands have a tendency to mature as they go on, like growing up, it's a tricky process full of pitfalls and dead ends. Change too much and your reach could end up exceeding your grasp; don't change enough and you're stuck in a cul de sac of arrested development, treading water on album after album. Fortunately for the Menzingers, they pull off the process beautifully, creating an album full of emotion that, while definitely feeling different than their past work, still shows signs of the band they were before. With its combination of hopeful energy and plaintive earthiness, On the Impossible Past is a mature and emotionally deep record that will make old fans glad they stuck around, and new fans out of anyone already on board with fellow Americana punks the Gaslight Anthem. ~ Gregory Heaney
Rock - Released April 18, 2014 | Epitaph
Although the process of growing up can be hard, the real challenge comes afterwards, when we're left to figure out how to live in a world without a safety net. It's this idea that the Menzingers explore on their fourth album, Rented World. If their previous effort, 2012's On the Impossible Past, was about getting to maturity, Rented World is an album about dealing with a world where your actions have lasting consequences. Refining their brand of earnest, rust belt punk rock, the Menzingers dive headfirst into self-awareness with the album's opening track, "I Don't Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore," a ripping start to the album that tackles that moment in life when you realize you can't move forward because you're spending too much time apologizing for yourself. Deeper into the album, "Where Your Heartache Exists" plaintively examines the process of watching someone else move on and realizing that they might just be better off without you. Songs like these speak to the idea of accepting the fact that doing what you want and doing what is right are often two very different things, and when it comes to finding happiness with another person, the path toward the former often leads directly away from the latter. While there isn't much separating Rented World from the Menzingers' sophomore effort musically, there's a contemplative aura surrounding the songs that shows all of the hallmarks of a band growing into more nuanced and capable songwriters, and as they leave their brash beginnings further behind them, it'll be interesting to see what their next destination is. ~ Gregory Heaney
Rock - Released February 3, 2017 | Epitaph
Pennsylvanian punks the Menzingers deepen their ruminations of the self with After the Party, their big-hearted fifth LP and third release for Epitaph. Nostalgic leanings are nothing new to the Menzingers, who have been growing ever more introspective with each release, but as the Scranton natives age into their thirties, they've struck a resilient tone that plays well against their grandiose guitar rock. Led by co-vocalists Greg Barnett and Tom May, the Menzingers put forth a rip-roaring sound for the masses that still harks back to the Rust Belt Americana punk that helped them earn their fans in the first place. While questions like "Where are we gonna go now that our twenties are over?" will connect most squarely with their own generation, the uncertainty of aging into new responsibilities is a threshold every punk must cross, and the Menzingers do so here with undimmed vitality on opener "Tellin' Lies." Nearly every song boasts bold, rousing riffs thanks to the band's own muscle and producer Will Yip's beefy production, but it's the big melodies that keep their ship sailing forward. Standouts like "Thick as Thieves," "Lookers," "Bad Catholics," and the stoutly sung anthem "The Bars" show the Menzingers in fine form at a career point when many begin to go stale or diverge into different directions altogether. Sure, they're not breaking the mold, but with After the Party, they manage to toe the line between subtlety and vigor, aging into their next phase with another solid release. ~ Timothy Monger
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