Highlights: Good Things, Burn After Writing, The Obituaries, Nice Things, Freedom Bridge
Once in a while we all need a record like On The Impossible Past in our lives. Swaggering attitude, catchy, anthemic tunes, a true riot of juicy, tastefully distorted guitars. The Menzingers’ third is a flawless collection of prime, propulsive, punkish energy. Irresistible.
And here’s the catch: it’s not dumb. It’s your angry, desperate punk anthems with rousing choruses and power chords – but it’s not dumb. It may seem that on occasion, it probably tries to be that on some of these songs (the beautiful chorus of “The Obituaries” goes like this: “I will fuck this up, I fucking know it!..”), but you get the impression that On The Impossible Past is a thinking man’s punk rock album. It’s smart – and quite possibly as subtle as you are ever going to get on a record like this.
The whole thing is incredibly consistent. Whether it’s aggressive rockers (with quite a bit of that hollering, too), mid-tempo material, or mellower moments (a couple of those), it is all tuneful, expertly arranged and possesses the urgency of any of your punk heroes. I mean I have my personal favourite songs here, of course, but there’s not a bad idea anywhere in sight. Yes, so it’s all kind of samey and stylistically the band offers very little in terms of variation, but you’d have to consider the genre.
It’s been a while since I had this much fun listening to a punk record. Tight, spirited, catchy. The only problem with it is that it might seem a little too addictive for its own good. You might have problems getting into that new Andrew Bird album afterwards. Which, interestingly, is exactly what I’m going to do next. An easy 8.