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Scranton punk rockers The Menzingers‘ thrilling sixth effort has all the antagonism and heartfelt passion the modern punk fan dreams of.
Released through Epitaph Records, each new track on Hello Exile is packed with feeling, jangling melodies and relatable sentiments, as they ease into their new roles as thirty somethings, and tackle issues ranging from troubled relationships and alcohol, to politics, ageing and reminiscent high school hell-raising.
The band’s penchant for writing consistently decent punk songs over the past 12 years – and five previous albums – has cemented their position as both the people’s punk rock band and accomplished storytellers.
Hello Exile sees them reunite with long-time producer Will Yip (Circa Survive, Panic!, Anthony Green) and in turn their lyrical narrative reaches new heights as they embrace getting older.
Gone are the days of navigating a wild youth with uncertainty, instead they delve into the past with hindsight and explore the present with insight and soul-baring intimacy.
America (You’re Freaking Me Out) is a belter of an opener – the catchy chorus’ fringed with enough pop-punk whoas and memorable harmonies to satisfy crowds everywhere.
Anna is loved-up and lovely, anthemic in its plea for its subject to return home soon, while the rest of the record is a little more lovelorn, it feels bold and self-assured.
I Can’t Stop Drinking airs of the side of effortless indie-ballad, while High School Friend is an instant pop-punk classic. It’s both refreshingly real and nostalgic, taking older listeners back to their teenage years without losing its timeliness.
Referencing a pub in the UK captial, London Drugs addresses a potentially toxic relationship with someone, in whose company you might do things you don’t want to, and latest single Stranger’s Forever while sounding lively enough, details the bleak aftermath of a break-up, which is something this album does well. There’s a lot of stark contrasts between toe-tapping buoyant melodies and darker topics or lyrics.
If one thing is certain, Hello Exile feels more reflective that its melancholic predecessor, 2017’s After the Party, but is probably The Menzingers’ most emotional and daring work to date.
See them live around the UK in February 2020 [Find Tickets]
1. America (You’re Freaking Me Out)
3. High School Friend
4. Last To Know
5. Strangers Forever
6. Hello Exile
8. Strain Your Memory
9. I Can’t Stop Drinking
10. Strawberry Mansion
11. London Drugs
Listen to Hello Exile on Spotify: