The Menzingers – “On the Impossible Past” Album Review

Coming a long way from “A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology,” The Menzingers latest installation of “On the Impossible Past” is an overall great album that perfectly shows the maturity of the band, yet often recalls their punk roots to make songs more powerful.

As I sat down to review this album, I needed to make something clear to myself. I am a man that does not like change and songs like “Alpha Kappa” are the reason I fell in love with this band. In reality, that was 5 years ago and I can’t expect them to still bring their young punk style to the table. With that being said, I listened with an open mind.

On the Impossible Past opens up with “Good Things,” a great ‘crowd-getter’ as I say that will be a fun song to hear live at one of their upcoming shows. It starts off rather slow and personal, but Greg comes in and puts his vocals to the test- screaming and singing with everything in him.
Flowing perfectly into “Burn After Writing,” Greg and Tom both split the vocals and put together one of my favorite songs the band has ever made. It has its serious verses that are saved by the loved screaming that Tom always brings to a song.

The next two songs are “The Obituaries” and “Gates,” the first tracks that were pre-released since December. Obituaries is an instant classic with powerful lyrics and catchy chorus, while Gates turns in a different direction and becomes one of the more unique tracks to the band, far from the screaming and punk scene we are all used to.

“Ava House” stands at track 5 and again will be another song that gets the crowd involved. Another strong chorus sang by Tom does not fail us, yet still manages to bring a relaxing beat with just bass and snare during the verses. Songs like “Sun Hotel” really show the maturity of the band and that is one thing that I respect. With a much more serious meaning sang from the heart of Greg, the lyrics will really reach out to its listeners, and is great for fights with your significant other!

After the acoustic introduction, “Sculptors and Vandals” picks up and is one of the more fast-paced songs on the album. This leaves me wanting more, as it is just over two minutes long. When “Mexican Guitars” came on, I instantly knew this was going to be a hit. Picking up at the chorus like the majority of their songs, this one brings Greg to strain his powerful voice and will be loved by many fans.

Next comes a song I am not so fond of. “On the Impossible Past” is just a flat-out sad and depressing song that tells the story of a car accident. Needless to say, it is not what we are used to by The Menzingers and it will be interesting to see how people react to it. Reminding me a lot of the Obituaries (but sang by Tom) “Nice Things” starts off with a different sounding guitar than we are used to, but continues to build at the chorus.

Rolling right along, “Casey” is a perfectly matured Times Tables off of their previous album. Greg uses his ability to translate his memories of him and his friend ‘Casey’ into a lyrically-strong and catchy-chorus song. You can tell this one came directly from the heart. Another song that reminds me a lot of Times Tables is “I Can’t Seem to Tell.” This song is close to perfect and is also one of my personal favorites. I keep saying the words ‘unique’ and ‘powerful’, but that’s exactly what this is. Strong lyrics and vocal tension is the product of an amazing song.
Ending the album is “Freedom Bridge,” a song that winds the album down to the track of Tom’s voice singing, not yelling. It is one of my least favorites, but does not take away from the overall experience.

Not many bands can do what The Menzingers are doing. Starting off with the upbeat punk music and hard screams, The Menzingers have rightfully matured through the span of their albums and you can only appreciate and respect what they are doing. Granted not one song on the album sounds like “They Speak of My Drinking, But Never My Thirst” from their Hold On, Dodge-EP, it’s okay because they’ve taken the next step as a band. Their roots are still there and they have matured music and much more powerful and meaningful lyrics as the outcome. True Menzinger fans will still love the album regardless, but the change is obvious. Hence, “On the Impossible Past.” It is clear this band in humble to be in the position they are in and over each release, they’ve prepped us for the direction they are going in. Never the less, this album is nothing short of brilliant and is so ‘unique’ and ‘powerful’ in it’s own way.

Overall, I give the album an 8/10. Like I said, it’s perfectly matured but still brings us what we love about The Menzingers.

“On the Impossible Past” is set for release on February 21, 2012.