Music is at its best when it can move you emotionally. Songs which connect with you so directly that they manage to force their way into your everyday life and never leave. They become forever with you, often recalled during times of personal or collective reflection. It is a powerful thing when memories and music are intertwined. We all have our go-to songs on standby depending on how we’re feeling. With their latest record, The Menzingers seem destined to join that very special playlist.
After The Party is a beautifully introspective record, full of self-reflection, heart, melody, and incredible amounts of personality. These are 13 songs which will stick with you for the foreseeable future.
‘Tellin’ Lies’ opens in energetic fashion. This is a song elevated by the first of many fantastic refrains on this record. “Where are we going to go now that our twenties are over?” mulls over the disheartening decision all adults face when met with society’s relentless need for us to grow up. This wears its heart on its sleeve without ever becoming overly earnest, building to a tale of troubled romance and a failed engagement in a soaring bridge section.
The punk rock energy of The Clash meets the sincerity of The Gaslight Anthem in ‘Thick As Thieves’. This has an upbeat triumphant feel not necessarily associated with the band, but pleasingly it is a vibe which continues through several sections of the record.
Lead single ‘Lookers’ is a weathered gaze at times gone by. “Sha la la la, Jersey girls are always total heartbreakers. Julie from the Wonder Bar, I still wonder where you are…” is a colossal chorus and the best of a great bunch. This is just begging to be sung in venues the size of arenas.
‘Bad Catholics’ is another highlight. This recalls misadventures from the past in good humoured fashion. The title track winds down the record with a fading instrumental section akin to the lights going down after a night out to remember. This could easily prop up a local bar’s jukebox as the bell for last orders sounds.
For all of its frequent moments of forlornness, this is the catchiest punk record you’re likely to hear this year, with choruses broad enough to earn the band some deserved new fans. This is also the most polished project in the group’s discography, which may put off some older fans craving that same-old grittier style, however they would be wrong to dismiss such an achievement by a band this grassroots.
It was always going to be tough to top the lauded Rented World, but the band have seemingly done so with ease. After The Party is a huge step forward. This is raw and plucky song-writing at its absolute best. The Menzingers have crafted a record that should be heralded for years to come. These are not cynical rock songs written to sell the listener on unrealistic ideals. This is as real as it gets. Support this band. Go and get this record.
After The Party is out on February 3rd via Epitaph Records.