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Album Review: The Menzingers – ‘From Exile’

The Menzingers are set to return with their new self recorded album ‘From Exile’

★★★★/5

Stripping back the sound doesn’t tarnish the great work of the original, ‘Hello Exile’, with its sped-up guitars, was a compelling release, a wonder in its own right, but ‘From Exile’ sounds organic, joyous and raw. It’s still the same songs and the same aura, but we as listeners can hear the lyricism hit every echo and every reverberation. The Menzingers are a band that knows how to connect the dots perfectly with their weaving lyrics and strong points of view. And this means, as the songs play at a slower frequency, we need not unravel or listen closely, because the brazen guitars take a back seat here.

Message after message comes to the fore. Drunk days are explored, heartless dreamers can’t speak straight, overworked hearts beat rapidly, and the music seems like the only reprieve. ‘From Exile’, offer an escape route for many. In its acoustic flair, it gives us time to tally up the days spent spiraling out of control.  

Melodically advanced, the record is soothing but unnerving. At moments, when the lyrics descend on you, you may be unequipped to see through their negativity. Yes, The Menzingers are story-driven lyricists, proud technicians, but their words can be awfully pessimistic. From Exile isn’t for the drastic followers of every butterfly, or picker of every vibrant rose, it’s for the listeners who pinch themselves to see if they’re still alive.

Punchdrunk and skidding off the map, The Menzingers have undone themselves here. They have altered the way an acoustic album can be perceived. You’ll have your skeptics, but if you’re one of the cynical people, then delve in and be astounded. That acoustic drive, the verve, the harmony, the sounds of subtle drums, all interweave to create a classic stripped back record.

There are songs for every moment in time. ‘Anna’ is a track of true resonance, with its subtle chord progression and slow vocals. The acoustic sound offers clarity and those words cut through the haze. The chorus fearlessly raises hairs. ‘Strangers Forever’ has been slowed down dramatically, but this doesn’t derail the track. That acoustic stab at the light offers nothing but calm, not a blaring sequence. It is a song of tranquility and is trance-like. ‘Strain Your Memory’ highlights a fast-paced vibe with the acoustic guitar being battered but not bruised. It’s faster, it’s loud, and it’s unapologetic. ‘Farewell Youth’ plays on like an old acoustic swansong. It has a beat and character. The subject epitomises sadness and a downturn in fortune.

The Menzingers show their softer side here. They’re a band spearheading punk and solace in equal measure. Their lyrics may be pessimistic, but hell, they’re real.

‘From Exile’ will be available on all major streaming platforms from the 25th of September. 

 

Mark McConville
Writer

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