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Review: The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past (Album)

We review the latest album from The Menzingers. Due for release next week so have a look and see what we thought here..

Band: The Menzingers
Release: On The Impossible Past (Album)
Release Date: 20/02/12

Packed with heartfelt lyrics and meaningful prose, Philadelphia punk-rockers The Menzingers return with their third full length album, ‘On The Impossible Past’.

Opening track ‘Good Things’ sets the tone for the rest of the album, wavering between punk rock and pop rock with anthemic choruses and verses screamed in anguish from the very start. It’s strong and easy on the ears, as the band introduce a tight but still very garage practice sound, which allows Tom May‘s and Greg Barnett’s impassioned vocals to come through loud and clear. This is an album straight from the heart, captured in some great lyrics as the album picks up pace, and it’s this movement and vulnerability that gives ‘On The Impossible Past’ such a definitive sound. Sure, there are musical similarities to other artists – fans of Blink 182 and AFI may find a new favourite band here – but they’re never derivative, as the lyrically excellent Gates proves. The writing is indeed the band’s biggest strength, it’s natural, passionate, and flows beautifully throughout, making this album much more of a definitive release than the previous albums and EPs.

The album wouldn’t be worth reviewing if it was flawless, and they do slip into some bad genre clichés and woefully angst-ridden self indulgence in the weaker tracks. ‘Sun Hotel’ and ‘The Obituaries’ both become quite repetitive and break the emotional momentum, but they’re not bad enough to make the album any less worthwhile. As with a lot of punk pop/rock, it can tread the line between aimless misery and powerful self expression, but rarely strays into blindly maudlin territory. There’s not much of a progression throughout the album and a lot of the songs seem to follow the same theme of heartbreak and teenage reminiscence, but the heart string tugging vocals of Mexican Guitars and Casey more than make up with it. Backed by writhing riffs and the occasional awesome solo that easily justifies some of the blander instrumental fills.

It’s far from perfect but that’s The Menzingers charm – not one second feels manufactured or thrown together to fill out the album, nor do they indulge in the crowd-pleasing lyrical angst of bands much more established than them. Sadness and regret flavours the album but never becomes overpowering, and each time you listen to it, the album’s message of life moving on becomes clearer. Every song feels stunningly human, which turns the weaker musical aspects into emotional strengths that simply contribute to a beautifully well-produced and highly recommended album.

Reviewer: Laurence Braddow

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