The Menzingers – After The Party

I’m a bit late on the review of this one, but the Menzingers are back for their 5th studio album, After The Party. Last year they released two songs from the album as singles, ‘Lookers’ and ‘Bad Catholics’ which made it to number 10 in my top releases of the year (limited to #10 due to them being singles from an upcoming album). Interestingly, or not(?), what I said about those songs sounding somewhat underwhelming at the start but growing on me remains true for the entire album. It’s not a spoiler to say now that I gave this album a 7/10 because the chances are you saw that before you read the review anyway… but I’m going off track a little to point it out early because there’s every chance this will rank higher in my albums of the year than records with a higher rating. I try to assign a rating based on the quality of the album, whereas I rate my top 10 on what I like the most, and that doesn’t always align with what I think is the best album of the year. This is hands down the 2017 release that I listed to most this year, likely because it is my favourite. Why then the 7/10 rating? I’m not sure, but I normally run through the album in these things so maybe that will shed some light.

The album opens with ‘Tellin’ Lies’ a song that sets up the premise of the entire album, that the band members have hit 30 and society considers them ‘too old’ to play music. Greg is singing with some real resentment to whoever is asking him “what are you gonna do now that your twenties are over?” Whether that be friends, family, relatives or randoms at a bar. The song showcases a new level of ‘pop-y- ness’ for the band but it’s not in a boring generic way, it’s fun and makes you want to sing along to the record or dance at a gig. This flows into ‘Thick as Thieves’ which is probably my least favourite track on the record. While I enjoy the first line “I held up a liquor store, demanding top shelf metaphors”, I don’t really get it and the song is probably the only one that stayed underwhelming from the first listen until now.

As ‘Thick as Thieves’ fades out, the third song ‘Lookers’ fades in, starting out super quiet as the intro builds into a more normal volume. This is my favourite song of the album, starting out sounding almost like a Hotelier song (pre-Goodness) and full of emotion. For the most part, the song continues to be quite soft, recalling a past relationship or friendship with ‘Julie from the wonder bar’, and how they ‘were both Lookers in the old days’. I’m not really sure early 30s are old enough to be reminiscing about how you used to look, but I’m also not sure that’s really what this song is about.. it seems to be more about memories and how time passes so quickly with nothing more than photographs to look back on. About half way through the song does build to a crescendo (god I hate that word) before closing out the last minute in the quiet emotional way that it started.

The album proceeds through a nice pop punk section containing bangers such as “Midwestern States”, “Charlie’s army” and “House on Fire” before getting emotional again on “Black Mass”. “Bad Catholics”, the second best song on the album starts of the second half of the album which generally sounds like The Menzingers from previous albums. Bad Catholics recounts, with bitterness, childhood and teenage memories of skipping on church with a friend, leading to the eventual drug driving charges. Particularly, the resentment in the song seems to centre around how the friend in question used her fathers connections to get out of any charges and maintain a “good church girl” persona. Without analysing the lyrics too much, this song really highlights the vocal abilities of Greg and Tom (or is it just Greg? I can’t even tell). This is probably the song I would point new Menzingers listeners towards to try to make fans of them, just excellent.

There probably isn’t too much need for me to go through the last 4 songs in great detail, it’s really more of what I’ve described above. Fun songs to listen to with some elements of louder pop punk and softer more emotional stuff. The album overall is super fun to listen to and probably my favourite on the year. It’s technically probably not as good as the new Dave Hause or Smith Street Band, but it’s a go to album, any mood, any weather, it always goes down well and brings out a singalong. I just hope they get Tom to sing a bit more on the next one.


Matt Power
13 December 2017

Full Disclosure

Feeling Fine
Drinking Water
Recent Listening Crazy Arm
How I Listened Modern Vinyl (legacy turnable)

The Menzingers After The Party

Artist The Menzingers
Album After The Party
Released 03 February 2017
Label Epitaph Records
Tracks 13
Run Time 45 minutes
Genre Pop Punk

The Menzingers After The Party