The Menzingers - Some Of It Was True (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Menzingers

Some Of It Was True (2024)


It's safe to say The Menzingers are a band that will always provoke conversation here at the good ole' 'Org. Maybe someone in the comments can enlighten me if they're actually "orgcore" -- as old as I am, even I wasn't around when those definitions were being carved out. Poor attempt at humor aside, Scranton's finest -- even when their music doesn't quite hit the heights -- are still miles ahead of what many other bands put out. Always art. Always honest. Always relatable. And make no mistake, while it might not be planting any flags atop the Menzingers' mountain, Some Of It Was True is a very serviceable addition to their discography. 

Now, it's always going to be hard to come close to Chamberlain Waits and On The Impossible Past. I felt After The Party did the best job, personally, while viewing the likes of Rented World and Hello Exile as excursions off the beaten path for older, more experienced family men. Some Of It Was True leans more into the latter: chill, patient, not as angsty, and something that shouldn't flummox loyalists given the band's recent evolution. It's a poetic direction that even feels like the band can hang the hat up and rest easy. 

Off the cuff, "Hope is a Dangerous Little Thing" reiterates just that. There's no intensity, animosity or loud shoutalong energy, admittedly. But there are catchy hooks and anthemic riffs sonically tailored into well-elaborated stories that I think are some of the band's best-written. By no means innovative, but simpler and rolling with the times. Even when the album gets jangly, embedded with that Americana rock 'n roll, it's tempered for fans of The Replacements, Gaslight Anthem, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and a personal favorite, Frank Turner, in the most organic way.

While there aren't that many big, loud songs, there is a certain delightful rawness that compensates for flaws production-wise and which basks in the not-too-overdone vocals from Greg Barnett and Tom May. It feels demo-ish at times, but this is the kind of instrumentation and laid back energy I don't mind. A few years back, maybe I would have, but now, not so much. It's best evidenced by breezy tracks like "There's No Place in This World for Me," "Try" and "Come on Heartache" -- inviting, yet still made for the outsiders like me who grew up with the band. And who would connect with the big, nuanced and finessed themes on this record. Love, family, compassion, empathy and forgiveness. You know, the shit you probably didn't get, even mid-30s.

And make no mistake, they flow well for the most part. Although at certain junctures, diehard fans just can't help but expect a rising swell or an infectious burst of energy as if to say the band can still kick it. "Nobody Stays" might be the closest on tap -- commendable, but not as impactful. Which is what the tracks that barrel into the end do feel like a tad: middling, run-of-the-mill and like maybe just a bit more could have been done in terms of zest and pick-me-ups. Still, you can let go of those quibbles once the final few roll around. 

"High Low" is a nice way to start capping the album, exuding the Western-acoustic aura Menzingers should do more of on tour with bands like, say, Sparta. Or actually, Jim Ward rolling solo. It's a stark reminder that quite a few of the acts I was accustomed to in high-school just want to pare it down, and stroll off into the sunset. All in all, Some Of It Was True might be best listened to, not standalone, but as a collective. A chapter and episode in a greater novel, with the passion of youth informing the wisdom of age to come. What one can't deny is that the Menzingers don't have it anymore. This isn't a swing and a miss, nor is it a home run. It is an emphatic, resounding and diminutive crack to the wall, with a band that knows how to diligently round base cooly, calmly and collectively.