Overall Score: 9/10 Lyrics: 10/10 Melodies : 9/10 Vocals: 9/10 Pros: Filled with amazing lyrics and stories | The choruses are all huge Cons: Some might find it less immediate than their previous albums
With 2017’s After the Party The Menzingers cemented themselves as one of the best bands in modern punk rock. After building up a real dedicated fan base that album saw them explode to another level. This put a fair bit of pressure on them when it came to a follow up. Fortunately with Hello Exile, The Menzingers have continued the streak of brilliant albums, delivering what could be their best album yet.
The album opens with the incredible America (You’re Freaking Me Out), a classic slice of Americana rock with a real strong message. This is definitely one of the most political songs The Menzingers have written and it feels incredibly vital given the current state in America. The chorus is just one of many massive ones on this album. Anna follows this up and continues this albums amazing opening. This just shows off Greg Barnett’s incredible story telling within his song writing. The images he conjures up with his lyrics are so vivid that they easily transport the listener to these moments.
More than any other previous Menzingers album, Greg really is the star here. That’s not to discredit Tom May as he still does a great job here. But Greg’s songwriting has just elevated to such a high level. The songs are certainly darker and more introspective this time too. After The Party had a feeling of defiance to it, wanting to keep feelings of youth alive despite growing older. This time round there is a feeling of acceptance over growing old. The album is still full of sing-along moments, it’s just a little more melancholic than before.
All this makes Hello Exile a less immediately gratifying listen than anything The Menzingers have done before. The album is front loaded with all the most accessible songs which might make the second half feel a little bit of a let down at first. But some of the albums best moments are in the second half. And with repeat listens these songs really come into their own. Strain Your Memory and closing track Farewell Youth are up there with the best Menzingers songs, with Farewell Youth being the perfect way to wrap up this album. And of course Will Yip once again does an outstanding job with the production, really helping these songs sound like arena filling rock anthems.
With another album of this quality under their belt, hopefully this will see The Menzingers continue their rise. There really aren’t many bands in rock music releasing music at this high a standard. It does nothing radically new or experimental. It’s just honest and powerful song writing that manages to be both personal to the band and still extremely relatable. It might be a more melancholic album, but Hello Exile is still The Menzingers doing what they are best at.
Hello Exile, the new album from The Menzingers, is released today (October 4th 2019) through Epitaph Records.