The Upshot: Scranton punk vets blast through one of the best punk albums you’ll hear this year. Check upcoming tour dates at the end.
BY JEFF CLEGG
Thirty is a tricky age. You begin realizing that life is not quite as long as you’d like it to be, and while you’re certainly not towards the end, the finiteness of life shows up on your radar and you develop a stronger desire for purpose and wisdom. You’re stuck managing the pressures of adulthood while holding onto the last breath of your youth every time your favorite high-school band goes on a 10-year anniversary tour. Tom May put it best to Blurt back in August when he said, “You start to become more wisdom-focused and not confusion-focused. So you start to really kind of appreciate and understand things that go on in your life and finally accept the fact that you don’t know anything.”
So, where do the Menzingers go now that their twenties are over? They blast their way through what will be one of the best punk records you’ll hear this year, and their best album to date. The Scranton-based band have been progressively growing from their fiery, aggressive earlier years into something more reflective and introspective, while never compromising energy or attitude, much like their predecessors the Bouncing Souls and Hot Water Music.
With the help of producer Will Yip (Title Fight, Balance & Composure, Pianos Become the Teeth), After the Party perfectly continues the bigger sound that 2014’s Rented World had with the sentimentality and atmosphere of On the Impossible Past and Chamberlain Waits. Beginning with the stand-out “Tellin’ Lies,” almost every song on the record is a boisterous, whiskey-drenched anthem, only slowing down briefly for the dreamy “Black Mass.” May’s contributions are among some of the best he’s written (notably “The Bars,” which is completely capable of being your next go-to drinking song), and guitarist/vocalist Greg Barnett’s storytelling and oftentimes falsetto voice has never sounded better. It’s no wonder the Scranton boys decided to cover Jason Isbell’s “24 Frames” for the recently released Don’t Stop Now compilation to benefit the ACLU (check the compilation out here via Bandcamp).
After the Party is an incredibly nostalgic era for the band, but rather than feeling confused and worried about their future, it sounds like they’ve accepted where they’re at and are confidently ready to take on what’s happening in front of them.
DOWNLOAD: “Tellin’ Lies,” “The Bars,” “After the Party,” and “Livin’ Ain’t Easy”
- Don’t forget to check out The Menzingers on their tour with Jeff Rosenstock and Rozwell Kid this spring.
3/02 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
3/03 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
3/04 – Minneapolis, N @ Cabooze
3/05 – St. Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill
3/07 – Houston TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
3/08 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
3/09 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda
3/12 – San Diego, CA @ The Irenic
3/13 – Pomona, CA @ Glasshouse
3/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ Regent
3/17 – Denver, CO @ The Summit
3/18 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theater
3/21 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
3/22 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade Heaven
3/23 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
3/24 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
3/25 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
3/26 – Tampa, FL @ State Theatre
3/28 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
3/29 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
3/30 – New York City, NY @ Irving Plaza
3/31 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
4/01 – Boston, MA @ Royale