The Menzingers – “Rented World”
The Menzingers really stepped up to the plate with their last release, “The Impossible Past” which was a quite stunning release. It really launched them in to a wider audience base and was one of the best punk rock releases of the last couple of years. They successfully managed to deliver an expansive album with a concept without losing any of their punk credentials. For the first time in their career there is probably quite a lot of pressure to keep that quality up with this latest release.
Opening track “I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore” certainly picks up where that last album left off. It’s a great punk rock song with a huge melody underneath it and a sense of humour in the lyrics. “Bad Things” shows a similar ‘trademark’ sound with its slow and clear opening which soon moves in to a more hardcore sound before hitting a melodic chorus. “My Friend Kyle (PDC)” is similar as it is a great balance of punk angst but carried along by a tuneful song. Songs like these and “In Remission” show how successful the band have been in creating their own identifiable and recognisable sound. It’s not to the extent of being ‘samey’ but is just a sound that you now just associate with the band.
“Where Your Heartache Exists” is a good example of where The Menzingers really excel. They have an ability to deliver a more emotive song which doesn’t fall in to the clichéd ‘emo’ sound. There aren’t many real punk bands who can pull this off. “Transient Love” opens with a more unusual funky intro. This song is a sign of the band’s willingness to expand their sound into a wider landscape, the trick which makes them so much better than many of their contemporaries. In contrast though “The Talk” is quite a straightforward modern punk sound which even has a hint of Green Day about it.
They enter a more punk Americana sound with “Nothing Feels Good Anymore” and it suggests the band could ‘mature’ into a more Gaslight Anthem esque sound. It is followed by “Hearts Unknown” which is probably the band at their most restrained and melodic. It works really well and is one of the best songs on the album.
As is quite common these days, the album ends with an acoustic, reflective song in the shape of “When You Died”. It is a relief from the intensity of the rest of the album and is certainly a fine song. It would still be nice, however, to hear an album go out with a bang.
Having produced such a landmark album with their last release, it is bound to see this album subjected to some difficult comparisons. On first listen, it’s easy to regard this as ‘just another Menzingers album’. However, this ignores the fact that even an average song by them is far better than most punk songs released today. It’s only when you go back and listen to it a couple more times, that you really appreciate the quality of these songs. The Menzingers have succeeded with making another excellent album which their fans will love.