Scranton natives, The Menzingers, return with their latest entry in what’s become a long-running thematic story telling of the teenage to twenty something emotional up & downs.
Put out through legendary label Epitaph, and produced by Will Yip (mewithoutyou, Circa Survive, Code Orange), After the Party delivers on all those silent promises you come to expect from a band you’ve spent hours driving to see and who’s lyrics seem to put a label on those unidentifiable emotions that swirl around in your brain.
In the past, The Zingers have played off reference to their hometown in such a sublime way. It’d make you feel proud to have swam in lake Wallenpaupack, or drive under Freedom Bridge and really feel that there are things so much greater than ourselves. The call backs to Scranton and its surrounding areas return in After the Party with songs like Bad Catholics and Boy Blue. If you haven’t seen the music video for Bad Catholics, it’s replete with home town goodies, featuring the scene of a church picnic (a setting any scrantonian is familiar with ) and local celebrities (hey, it’s Conor from the bog!). This type of self referential lyricism is one aspect of the Menzingers that brings me back to their records time and again. My head perked up with a smile during my first listen to Boy Blue as rt. 502 is a stone’s throw from my house, and the thought of the road itself brings my own memories gushing back.
Greg channels Bruce Springsteen with aplomb on Black Mass. This slow-it-down track feels like standing in the rain on a sunny day. “We use to get high and stare at the moon, and wonder how long it would take to walk to, but now it’s like the distance between me and you”. Distance, the route between A and B, rings though this plea of a track. “Do you really wanna throw it away, I’d do anything to make you stay, for just a little, just a little bit longer”. Anyone who’s gone through the tacit experience of separation, whether permanently, temporarily, emotionally, ethereally what have you, this track swallows like a pill perfectly suited to start the process of identifying the specificities in your situation.
The first single from the album, Lookers was right on time to be a crowd pleaser at this years annual holiday show. The track itself is quintessential Menzingers, with literary reference wrapped inside an opaque anecdote of love, loss and recollection (and a bit of brave revelry,“the future ain’t coming for it”). The band’s performance of this track transcended its lyrical meaning into 3 minutes and 37 seconds of self inspection. As someone who’s been seeing and listening to the NEPA group for years now, lines like “that was the old me, that was the old you” couldn’t help but channel a sense of repose and reflection, leaving me with pride for my city and it’s local music scene.
Here’s “lookin” at you boys.
After the Party is out through Epitaph records and available physically and digitally.