Pairing punk energy with roots rock warmth, the Menzingers continue to mature their sound on their third album, On the Impossible Past. The album finds the band delivering a wryly nostalgic performance, giving a nod to their punk roots as they embrace the rugged earnestness of the Rust Belt with songs about broken hearts, loneliness, and self-doubt. While a lot of bands have a tendency to mature as they go on, like growing up, it's a tricky process full of pitfalls and dead ends. Change too much and your reach could end up exceeding your grasp; don't change enough and you're stuck in a cul de sac of arrested development, treading water on album after album. Fortunately for the Menzingers, they pull off the process beautifully, creating an album full of emotion that, while definitely feeling different than their past work, still shows signs of the band they were before. With its combination of hopeful energy and plaintive earthiness, On the Impossible Past is a mature and emotionally deep record that will make old fans glad they stuck around, and new fans out of anyone already on board with fellow Americana punks the Gaslight Anthem.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney