Pennsylvania’s gloomy pop-punk favorites, The Menzingers, are back with a soon-to-be treasured album, Hello Exile.
If you’ve been a fan of these guys, you’re already familiar with their dripping in nostalgia sound and larger than life vocals courtesy of Greg Barnett and Tom May. If this is your first time hearing about this band, this is honestly the perfect album to start with.
The four piece Midwestern act started in 2006, and have since made a five album run, with their six album that dropped Friday, Oct. 4th.
The band signed with Epitaph Records in 2011, before releasing arguably one of their best albums, On the Impossible Past, the following year. It was met with open arms and voted Album Of The Year by various music news publications.
Its follow up, Rented World, was released two years later in 2014, with banger after banger in songs like “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore,” “My Friend Kyle,” and fan favorite “In Remission.”
They spent the next two years touring across the world with acts like The Smith Street Band, mewithoutyou, and Taking Back Sunday.
Several singles, another album, and multiple tours later, The Menzingers make their return with producer Will Yip (The Wonder Years, Anthony Green) on Hello Exile.
You will not be disappointed.
Starting with a politically charged ballad that sets the tone for the entire album, “America (You’re Freaking Me Out)” stresses the fear of growing older, with a drive through the Bible Belt and MAGA country.
“High School Friend” is a hidden gem and everything I love about The Menzingers wrapped up into one track; alcohol, familiarity, and the ache of growing up. The eerie roar of church organs can be heard at the ending, like the beginning of a funeral and the final goodbye to a friend.
The following song, “Last To Know,” has the same haunting funeral-like sound in the middle of the track, with recycled words from “Burn After Writing,” a song that can be found on a previous album, On the Impossible Past.
“It ends where it begins.”
Maybe the two tracks are related, or maybe it’s just a subtle nod to the past.
“Strangers Forever” is an up-beat tale of loneliness, drenched in the feeling of a perpetual lack of a relationship weighing over-head, and man do I love it. It’s grown on me even more with each listen.
The final track says it all and sums up the entirety of the album perfectly, with a final farewell to one’s youth.
“To all our favorite records, drinking the cheap stuff, couldn’t get enough of growing up.”
With my 26th birthday in the way-too-near future, this album came at a perfect time for me. It makes you look back, acknowledging your own growth, remembering the people you’ve lost over the years and the ones who have passed on. Tears over beers, and cheers to many more years that we won’t fully enjoy but will one day ache for.
The nostalgic vibes Hello Exile bleeds at the very beginning wrap all the way through to the very end.