Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Review: The Menzingers - On the Impossible Past

 Since 2006, The Menzingers have proven themselves a worthy source for wonderous, blissful punk rock of a classic sort that bursts with brightness and positivity. When they were signed to Epitaph Records last year, the labels founder and Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz stated "These guys play the kind of pure punk rock that I grew up with." And with this genuine image of warm kind-natured punk, the Scranton quartet use their loving force to fuel their third album On the Impossible Past. It is basically a punk masterpiece, musically and lyrically. Let's lose ourselves in overwhelming charm.

 With On the Impossible Past, the lyrics are created using a more intense biographical style that is supposedly drawn from personal experience of growing up with friends and familiy and all the different situations wether they be upbeat or filled with pessemism. And as opener Good Things sees frontman Greg Barnett open with the lines "I've had a horrible time/ Pulling myself together/ I've been closing my eyes to find/ The old, familiar failures." you just know that this will be an album of tales from someone that has lived a life worth writing songs about and has seen the highs and lows of living life to the full. The Obituaries repetiton of "I will fuck this up/ I fucking know it" shows a sense of charm in it's absolute tragedy and self-pitying bitterness.
 When lead vicals are handled by guitarist Tom May, song matters take a more uplifting turn, which really sees the biographical reflective tone to their music come out as Gates sees loving memories take up the songs content as May croons: "It's not hard to fall for a waitress/ When you both smoke/ Smoke the same cigarettes/ You'll get seated as diners lovers/ You'll get to check that Scranton's for the better." They make the song as romantic as they do realistic, with a simple tale of love and life fills listeners with warm emotion that one may simply get encapsulated in.
 Musically, the effort of The Menzingers is stunning as well. The band is gifted with the ability to simply write uplifting catchy hard rock songs. There's hints of pop punk, but it's a battered sort of pop punk. The type that has a greater blues influence, a greater soul influence perhaps. More than anything, it's the type of music that has "Bruce Springsteen influence" written all over it. Tracks like Burn After Writing and I Can't Seem to Tell are filled with infectious hooks and distortion drenched riffs all over them. The folky style of heartland punk also aids in giving this album a much rawer, earthly sound overall. And this natrual element only boosts the poetic beauty that the lyrics have to offer.
 So, this is an album that is created using wonder, warmth, punk rock passion and beautifully wriiten lyrics as it's main ingredients. The Mzingers manage to keep things energetic and grand while producing a more intimate and wondrous atmosphere with their lyrics. To end this, I can only think to use the inevitable saying of "Punk's not dead!" and the performance of The Mezingers is evidence of this.

The Mezinger's On the Impossible Past is out now via Epitaph. The band will tour the UK in May with The Bouncing Souls, Red City Radio and Leagues Apart.

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