The Menzingers - No Penance/Cemetery Gardens [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Menzingers

No Penance/Cemetery Gardens [7-inch] (2019)

epitaph records

The Menzingers are the gift that keeps on giving. 2017 may seem like a long way back but still, After The Party remains fresh in mind, not just as the best Menzingers record to me, but one of the best I've ever heard in general. So when songs like "Toy Soldiers" and "The Freaks" were released, it felt like the Scranton guys should have just thrown us an EP in the wake of. Now, two songs later, and yeah, I still stick to that sentiment because you just can't help this feeling like that last album is chock-full of gems that didn't make the cut and which would have made it longer, even better. Or as I said, the simple solution is a five or six-tracker. But hey, we'll take what we get bit by bit...

"No Penance" feels like it's a fit for the aforementioned 2017 album, but also, as that perfect track which was meant to bridge the gap to Rented World -- something I don't think I heard since. Admittedly, the latter took some time to grow on me but I loved that '90s alt/punk aesthetic on most of the songs, and here, the Menzingers work that same flushed feeling in. It's a mid-tempo jam that also echoes the second half of After The Party with lyrics like "Burning bridges wasn't part of the plan but damn, it feels good when the good guys win"... feeling thematic to the last 7-inch too.

It's a nice bit of duality to "Cemetery's Garden" which feels like a tribute to the earlier, hard-edged Menzos. Tom May really brings this track home with a sense of urgency that you heard on On the Impossible Past and Chamberlain Waits as if to remind you that while their modern music is all about boys growing into men (husbands and fathers), they still know how to cook with the fire of old. If these tracks are anything to go on, while the last couple Menzingers records were about a new era and possibly new identities, what's up next could be the amalgamation of over a decade which we've all been waiting on.