Album review: The Menzingers – Some Of It Was True

Nostalgia, bittersweet angst and mid-30s growing pains: The Menzingers once again serve it deliciously on seventh album.

Album review: The Menzingers – Some Of It Was True
Nick Ruskell

One day I will wake up in a dream,’ declares Greg Barnett on Some Of It Was True’s wistful title-track. ‘Suddenly I’m 17, driving alone for the first time.’ Six years since asking, ‘Where we gonna go now that our 20s are over?’ on After The Party, The Menzingers still don’t have an answer to the quandary of growing older when growing up in the good citizen sense isn’t something that’s happening to you, and teenage nostalgia feels so familiar but is further than it’s ever been. Now that the Scranton bar-stool punks are not so far off reprising that question at the end of their 30s, The Menzingers at least have some very Menzingers wisdom about it all. ‘The older I get,’ sings Greg, ‘The less I know.’

Some Of It Was True is an album full of this kind of big Menzingers energy. There’s No Place In This World For Me takes in the quandary of always wanting to be on tour when you’re home, and always wanting to go home when you’re on tour, the feeling of being in the wrong place at a wrong time, in the way and unsettled. Hope Is A Dangerous Little Thing finds Greg being in love with someone who’s in love with someone else, feeling like junk. Alone in Dublin, meanwhile, finds him in love, but miles away from his beau, ‘Wishing you were here.’ It’s all written with smartness, a rough, street poetry, and a huge dollop of Americana populated by burned-out restaurants and big cars and rock’n’roll dreamers and John Hughes suburbia.

In some sense, The Menzingers change not one bit as they get older. Greg has always been an insightful, observational writer, and the songs here are built firmly in that sweet spot where American punk rock meets Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. Here, it’s best personified by Hope…’s almost jubilant accompaniment to its subject, the nostalgia-dripping radio rock of Come On, Heartache, the way Nobody Stays breezes along, and Take It To Heart’s strutting, new-wave-ish rhythms. But it’s also its own album, a window to where and who they are right now.

Of course, one of those things is teenagers who can’t shake holding onto a youth that may have long passed, but hasn’t truly left. This is a very good thing to be, especially for those navigating the expectation of age against a reality that’s far different. So long as this is the case, there will always be a place in the world for The Menzingers.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: The Gaslight Anthem, The Replacements, Against Me!

Some Of It Was True is released on October 13 via Epitaph

Read this: The Menzingers’ Greg Barnett: My life in 10 songs

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