The Menzingers, Hello Exile - album review
Let the drums herald the coming of joyful music.
So many tracks on this new, sixth record from Philadelphia's The Menzingers start with the skin-thumping of Joe Godino to count us in to the forthcoming mixture of uplifting guitars and nicely-forged melodies despite the more soul-bearing lyrical content.
You would think a reflective record looking back at their high school days, failed relationships and such would be a more morose affair. But not with The Menzingers. This is a real chest-thumping record of life's ups and downs which could gear up many to use the tales as guidance in their own troubled times and should prove popular in live shows.
Strawberry Mansion is one such track which mixes Godino's work with the dual guitars of Greg Barnett and Tom May nicely. It's rousing in a Dropkick Murphys sense - emotive verses opening up into an albeit lighter, poppy interlude them the DMs might serve up, but one harmoniously powerful. There's enough grit in there to stop it being too saccharine.
The guitars bouncing off one another to begin Strangers Forever is a different style for the record, and their jangling battle anchors the song nicely. More reflective verses give the eardrums a bit of a rest before we roar back into life for the jagged, whiskey-tinged choruses.
Portland has another thumping melody to count us in and the overall backstreet bar dance-off feel to it is one of the most uplifting moments on the whole record as you can imagine the limbs flailing and shot glasses clinking.
And we do get reflectively emotional too. Last To Know, with its toned down atmospherics and deep, heart-broken guitar, is helped along by the softly powerful bassline from Eric Keen. It's perhaps the best moment of all with its been-there-done-that attitude to life's low points.
This is a well-crafted record that should please die-hard Menzingers fans since their 2012 debut, but also carry enough delights to bring in some newbies too who have missed to boat so far.
A grand return for an energetic and prolific four-piece.
The Menzingers will play Birmingham's The Asylum on February 14, 2020