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The Menzingers - Hold on Dodge [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)

The Menzingers

The Menzingers: Hold on Dodge [7 inch]Hold on Dodge [7 inch] (2009)
Red Scare

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: sickboiChris
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Adrift in a landscape of emo, indie rock, hardcore, post-hardcore, pre-hardcore and countless other genres associated with punk rock and overall "independent music," Philadelphia-by-way-of-Scranton band, the Menzingers, chose to stick with what they knew and loved. Borrowing from musical influences .
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Adrift in a landscape of emo, indie rock, hardcore, post-hardcore, pre-hardcore and countless other genres associated with punk rock and overall "independent music," Philadelphia-by-way-of-Scranton band, the Menzingers, chose to stick with what they knew and loved. Borrowing from musical influences that many of us grew up listening to (and still do), yet many often attempt to distance themselves from, the Menzingers are probably one of the most honest young bands you'll come across today. Their story began with a strong debut LP, A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology, released in 2007. It seemed that everyone that heard the record was really into their mid-tempo punk rock, sprinkled with hints of Clash-esque reggae and ska. The problem was, not a lot of people were hearing it. With increased touring in 2008, a small buzz began to follow the band, culminating at the annual Fest in Gainesville, FL, where the Menzingers played an energetic set to an eager and equally energetic crowd. The performance was enough to catch the ears of Tobias Jeg and Brendan Kelly, infamous proprietors of Red Scare Industries. The label had recently begun to extend beyond their standard Midwest pop-punk fare, and the Menzingers were equally interested in joining a label to help get their music to a wider audience.

This union is what has now brought us the Menzingers' latest release, and first for Red Scare, the appropriately titled Hold on Dodge 7" (I'll get to the title, and why it fits in a little while). Just four songs, two per side, Hold on Dodge is one of the best examples of why it is often better to release a 7" or EP of a few great songs, than to attempt to combine those few great songs with a bunch of "okay" tracks on a rushed LP. For those familiar with the band's prior recordings, you'll be pleased to know they reunited with producer Jesse Cannon (King Django, INDK, Leftover Crack, Shai Hulud), who also handled their previously mentioned debut LP. Speaking of the production on the 7", Cannon did an amazing job capturing both the band's youthful energy, and accenting their individual strengths, such as harmonies, trading/contrasting vocals and dynamic rhythm. Most noticeable are the clean, yet far from overproduced backing vocals. Instead of sounding like a thunderous standout, they perfectly complement the tracks -- something many producers/engineers should learn to do.

With only four tracks, Hold on Dodge is quite the tease -- especially when each of those four songs stands on their own merits, but works well with one another to form a great release. A record, even a 7", is truly special when the listener has difficulty determining a favorite song. They are all really that good. Side A offers "Sunday Morning" and "Lilith Avi," with "Sunday Morning" starting with a drawn-out riff leading into guitarist/vocalist Greg Barnett's rough and melodically scratchy voice. The track displays the band's knack for tempo changes, leading to the buildup and infectious, sing-a-long chorus of "Don't worry brother, this will blow overā?¦"

The second track from Side A, "Lilith Avi" might be the poppiest/catchiest track the band has ever written. Starting with an almost relaxing combination of vocals from Barnett and the band's other vocalist/guitarist, Tom May, it quickly builds into an increased tempo chock full of toe-tapping pop-punk. In opposition to Barnett's more abrasive voice, May brings the harmonic balance to the band's vocals to create the perfect blend of "sweet and sour."

Side B brings us a two additional tracks standing tall on their own merits. "They Speak of My Drinking, But Never of My Thirst" is unquestionably one of the best songs in the band's brief catalog. The post-ska swagger and clever lyricism are perfect examples of the band at its best. Addressing the current epidemic of our generations' choice to find a pill for all of life's problems, May sings:

We're the Disneyland dope-fiends, it's a small world, when you're praying up to the pill;
Generation serotonin: balanced and free, singing praise to the molecule"
Rounding out Hold on Dodge is "Red, White and Blues," a great closing track that combines many of the band's strongest attributes -- varying vocal styles, building tempos and infectious choruses.

The title Hold on Dodge is the band's own take on the expression "get outta Dodge," with their interpretation meaning to not jump and run away, and forgetting who you are and where you came from. Whether it was meant to relate or not, the 7" Hold on Dodge is an example of that mentality. New ideas, improved songwriting -- yet staying with what works for them and the sound they enjoy; the Menzingers aren't sitting still, but are far from forgetting who they are. In the merit system of 7" records, I can't find a single flaw with this release. Each song holds its own ground, and complements the one before or (flip record) after. I'm not sure what "perfect" is, but this record is pretty much there.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Menzingers - A Lesson in the Abuse of Information TechnologyThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Menzingers - On the Impossible PastThe Flatliners - CavalcadeThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever Told

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
eran_zombis (April 12, 2010)

apparently the anti-flag reference was listed on the review of the first record, the name of which i mixed up last post.

eran_zombis (April 12, 2010)

Blackjaw said... "Side note: when I first heard this band, I thought "Anti-Flag after listening to some folky orgcore", but no one else has ever compared them to Anti-Flag as far as I know. Am I just way off?"

That's EXACTLY what I thought from the first song on set this on fire, and then I was super disappointed when they got all poppy.

itsambertime (April 11, 2010)

Listen to this allllll day errreyday.

aintyourbusiness (January 6, 2010)

This EP is awesome. It took me a few listens to get into it but now I can't stop listening. The only song I don't like is the "Kentucky Gentlemen" Bonus Track. Sunday Morning is epic.

Jo_punk_promoter (June 27, 2009)

Great ep, cant wait for the next full lenght! Red White and Blues is probably my favorite track on this one, the bonus acoustic song from itunes is pretty good too

CBSrocksteady (June 25, 2009)

this EP is fucking amazing. everyone should pick it up.

thirtyseconds (June 25, 2009)

The cover reminds me of the Regaining EP by NOFX.

The music I have not heard.

Dante3000 (June 24, 2009)

But Bill O'Reilly's band sucks.
-Dante

baseball (June 24, 2009)

This really is one of, if not the best, EPs I've heard all year. I like this a lot more than their full length. Will be really interested to hear the next full length.

Redscare (June 24, 2009)

Bill O'Reilly and P.J. Carlissimo: also from Scranton.

Jumpoff (June 24, 2009)

I'm from Scranton, and these guys are by far the best band to come out of here. Saw the record release show for this EP and it was great. I always hear antiflag compared to these guys but I think these guys are better. Local bias maybe? Don't know.

ddb43 (June 24, 2009)

This band rocks. Can't wait for a new LP.

rodeochzbrgr (June 24, 2009)

I've been listening to this for a week straight. Such a good record!

TheViz (June 24, 2009)

I only found out about these guys about a month or two ago. My friend sent me link to their myspace page, and after listening to maybe the first minute of Lilith Avi I was so blown away that I went and bought both the LP and the EP. The Menzingers are easily the best new punk band around.

telegraphrocks (June 23, 2009)

I listened to this!!!

Fresnoska (June 23, 2009)

Songs are great, but the production is muddy as fuck

vizzle88 (June 23, 2009)

I've had Sunday Morning and Lilith Avi on repeat for about the last 3 days or so. Those songs rule, but the others are pretty good too. Heard em live and Sunday morning live is one of the greatest songs live I've heard!

damo (June 23, 2009)

it's good but it's not 5 stars. think you've got a bit carried away

can't wait for them to one day tour the UK

inagreendase (June 23, 2009)

"Anti-Flag after listening to some folky orgcore", but no one else has ever compared them to Anti-Flag as far as I know. Am I just way off?

This is pretty much what I thought the first time I heard them. It's also close to what I said in my review of the full-length.

nocigar (June 23, 2009)

zingers!!! great little piece here!!

sickboi (June 23, 2009)

Regarding my score, I scored this solely on what one would expect from a 7"/EP. An LP's grading scale is a little more in depth, but for a 7" I really do think this is almost perfect, at least in my opinion. Great songs, hooks, lyrics, recording quality...and my review didn't even mention the artwork, which is equally badass.

-chris

Redscare (June 23, 2009)

Dante's right.

skankbook (June 23, 2009)

Incredible band, great EP.

Allon (June 23, 2009)

these guys write some of the best hooks i've heard in a long time. i don't think it's long enough to justify a perfect score, but wow this rules.
also, this review should have chapters

Blackjaw_x (June 23, 2009)

Yeah I mostly just meant the vocals, but I think the overall melody of a lot of their songs are quite similar as well, instrumentation included (minus guitar tone and drumming perhaps). I'm talking later Anti-Flag too; their catchiest most anthemic stuff is pretty similar to the catchier songs on A Lesson in the Abuseblablabla.

Dante3000 (June 23, 2009)

Scott once said, "They sound like Anti-flag if they played ska".
Also, I can see that with the vocals, but lyrically and musically they're pretty different.
-Dante

Blackjaw_x (June 23, 2009)

I like 3 of the 5 songs a lot, the other 2 are okay. I don't like this band when they're slower and acoustic-y. Sunday Morning is fucking awesome, the 'beat' or something of it just rocks my world. It just feels legitimately badass.

Side note: when I first heard this band, I thought "Anti-Flag after listening to some folky orgcore", but no one else has ever compared them to Anti-Flag as far as I know. Am I just way off?

Dante3000 (June 23, 2009)

Welp...Toby's stoked.
-Dante

mikexdude (June 23, 2009)

Love this band, but I give it an 8.

LawnDay (June 23, 2009)

Dude.

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