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Album Review: After The Party by The Menzingers

Philadelphia garage-punk four-piece The Menzingers release their fifth album After The Party on 3rd February via Epitaph. From the outset, it’s clear that the band have set out to make the quintessential jukebox record: an unstoppably melodic album primed for bar-room sing-alongs, full of anthemic harmonies, furious power chords, and larger-than-life melodies. It’s an album that resonates in its storytelling.

It’s what makes The Menzingers so special – it’s an album about getting older, wistful but life-affirming – so deeply relatable that you can’t help but fall in love almost immediately. “We spent our 20s living in a rowdy kind of way, and now we’re at a point where it seems like everyone in our lives is moving in different directions,” says Tom May, who joined fellow singer/guitarist Greg Barnett, bassist Eric Keen, and drummer Joe Godino in forming The Menzingers as teenagers in their hometown of Scranton. Adds Barnett: “We’re turning 30 now, and there’s this idea that that’s when real life comes on. In a way this album is us saying, ‘We don’t have to grow up or get boring—we can keep on having a good time doing what we love.’”

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If you’re familiar with The Menzingers then After The Party will come as no surprise. Consistently growing and bettering themselves album on album, this simply carries on the trend and sees them at their best. For the most part the album is one that smacks you in the face and instantly becomes a favourite. Tracks that perhaps don’t quite work on first listen, like ‘House on Fire’ and ‘Midwestern States’ only take another listen (two at most) to fit comfortable beside the others and become ear worms.

If you’re looking for the growth of the band set the crooning stripped-back ‘Black Mass’ and the drinking waltz of ‘The Bars’ as your reference points. Yet it’s the points where the band have sharpened their harmonies and cutting power cords that After The Party really excels. You’ll already be familiar with how good lead singles ‘Bad Catholics’, ‘Lookers’ and title track ‘After The Party’ are but ‘Boy Blue’ might just trump them all, absolute gold. Whether it be tales of your youth, lost love or listening to Minor Threat there’s something honest and genuinely relatable within each track. It’s an album to fall in love with, an album to accompany any mood and perhaps, just maybe, the best album that’ll be released in 2017.

AD Rating 9.75/10

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