The Menzingers are here to remind us what the heart of rock music is all about. No glitz or glam. Just pure untainted music available to enjoy for the sake of loving music. Their most recent release On The Impossible Past is thirteen tracks of heart-on-sleeve lyrics, brilliant guitar hooks and the passionate rasp that embodies Greg Barnett and Tom May’s voices. The Menzingers deliver a banger with jam after jam on their third full-length showing they are a band to be looking out for in 2012.
Opener “Good Things” is a short introduction that jumps right into the action after some soft drum clicks backing the croon of “I’ve been having a horrible time/Pulling myself together.” This track personifies The Menzingers’ sound just perfectly and appropriately leads into the instant classic that is “Burn After Writing,” a song that has everything that anyone would love from an indie/punk track.
The theme of Impossible can be easily traced to the happy-go-lucky guitars that stand out as the backbone of the group. “Mexican Guitars” and “Gates” feature great guitar licks that accentuate the vocals in a pleasant fashion while the vocalists repay the favor on songs such as “Casey” and “Sculptors and Vandals.” This call and return between the singing and the guitar is such a joy to listen to with every spin.
While the vocals and melodic guitars are what bring the listener in, it’s the lyrics that force them to buckle in all the way through Impossible. The band’s straightforward songwriting comes off as both charming (“Casey”) and incredibly heartbreaking and dark (“I Can’t Seem To Tell”) and as Barnett recalls back to the beginning of the record on the title track interlude, one begins to sympathize with his every word. As the vocalists effortlessly bounce between soft, nearly spoken, singing and throaty yells, the lyrics become pent up with unadulterated emotion and hit the listener in an impossibly perfect manner.
Shortcomings are few and far between on Impossible as The Menzingers only fall victim to meaningless flaws such as lyrical repetition and basic song structure but those tiny missteps are irrelevant when such things as the heart-racing tempo change of “Sculptors And Vandals” or the anthemic chorus of “Burn After Writing” kick in and show that they refuse to give an inch of ground.
It is really early in the year, but I am sure that when I look back at 2012, On The Impossible Past will be among my favorite records to be released. With all of the heartfelt anthems to sing along with on this record, it’ll be hard for me not to spin it all the way through the summer and beyond. The Menzingers have really perfected their sound here and it will take a lot of hardships to fuck this up. I fucking know it.