Pennsylvanian punks the Menzingers deepen their ruminations of the self with After the Party, their big-hearted fifth LP and third release for Epitaph. Nostalgic leanings are nothing new to the Menzingers, who have been growing ever more introspective with each release, but as the Scranton natives age into their thirties, they've struck a resilient tone that plays well against their grandiose guitar rock. Led by co-vocalists Greg Barnett and Tom May, the Menzingers put forth a rip-roaring sound for the masses that still harks back to the Rust Belt Americana punk that helped them earn their fans in the first place. While questions like "Where are we gonna go now that our twenties are over?" will connect most squarely with their own generation, the uncertainty of aging into new responsibilities is a threshold every punk must cross, and the Menzingers do so here with undimmed vitality on opener "Tellin' Lies." Nearly every song boasts bold, rousing riffs thanks to the band's own muscle and producer Will Yip's beefy production, but it's the big melodies that keep their ship sailing forward. Standouts like "Thick as Thieves," "Lookers," "Bad Catholics," and the stoutly sung anthem "The Bars" show the Menzingers in fine form at a career point when many begin to go stale or diverge into different directions altogether. Sure, they're not breaking the mold, but with After the Party, they manage to toe the line between subtlety and vigor, aging into their next phase with another solid release.
After the Party Review
by Timothy Monger