“Oh yeah, oh yeah, everything is terrible.” That’s how the new Menzingers record, After the Party, starts (and I’m sure countless other reviews). We’re immediately hit by the intro of “Tellin’ Lies”, which has a heavy dose of Jeff Rosenstock influence. The track shows the band at their tightest and their knack for consistently writing great openers.
After the Party follows up Rented World, which felt like The Menzingers had a brief drop off in quality after their 2012 masterpiece On the Impossible Past. This record is completely different. While Rented World was an album of hits, which didn’t require a full listen, it also felt like some songs were unexceptional. After the Party feels like a return to the formula which made On the Impossible Past so great, a return to the slow album build and the feeling that every song placement is deliberate.
Second track, “Thick as Thieves” feels slightly different for the band too, with its huge rocky riff. This is the first of the tracks were Tom May takes vocals, and it’s one of his best. In fact, May’s songs on After the Party are some of his best in years. “Boy Blue” and “House on Fire” in particular are both stunning, and show off a more aggressive side of the band’s music.
Greg Barnett’s heartfelt outings are still here, too, and as poignant as ever. “Lookers” is another incredible song for the band, and will certainly be a live staple for years to come; it’s simple and very “Menzingers-y”, but shows them at their best. While the rocky “Charlie’s Army” blasts straight through for two minutes, while “Your Wild Years” is reminiscent of the more nostalgic songs from On the Impossible Past. “After the Party” is another example at a band at the top of their game, with some of the most hard-hitting verses the band has ever written.
After the Party might not be as instant as the other Menzingers albums, relying on multiple listens and common themes, with less “single” sounding songs. However, it’s a slow-burning, masterful record, which shows off the sound which the band has perfected over the past decade.