February 5, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 27°F


Review: Melancholy punk-rock release thrives with catchy melodies

"Rented World"

The Menzingers

The Menzingers’ catchy blend of punk and arena rock continues to improve with their fourth LP, “Rented World.” The band’s riff-driven songwriting combines flawlessly with frontman Greg Barnett’s characteristic raspy, melodic vocals to create an album with an infectious reminder: Punk is not dead. This LP’s arrangement of tracks allows any rock-loving audiophile to find solace within its dynamic, euphonious sounds.

“I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore” opens the album with a bang. Barnett’s emotional vocal styling shoots daggers of emotion while background vocals intertwine with crisp snare hits to create an awe-inspiring musical buildup. The track “Bad Things” sticks to the punk-infused instrumentation the group is known for, but goes on to deliver an atmosphere that is darker and moodier than other tracks. They opt for a slightly more tame, clean guitar tone in between crescendos to accent Barnett’s incredible vocal range and the drum’s hard-hitting fills.

“I’ve tried running, I’ve tried hiding/ I’ve tried everything but dying/ Damn the days we took for granted/ Never again will I let anyone close to me,” belts Barnett on the track “Rodent,” continuing his dominant vocal performance while fast-paced arpeggio chord progressions keep the tempo high. The drums break away from the blistering speed of the guitars by utilizing an impressive amount of softer notes to keep listeners engaged and on their toes.

The band rounds off the album with a slew of melancholy tracks. “In Remission” is an emotional tune filled with high-pitched background harmonies. The track also boasts the album’s best crescendo of sound, starting with a soulful, strident vocal harmony and ending with a texture of fast drums, slow guitar riffs and harsh yells. “When You Died” is a somber, existential ballad that works as an emotional punch for listeners thanks to its delivery through Barnett’s pleasantly hoarse tone.

This album’s replay value makes it a rock album worth listening to thanks to pop-punk melodies that create a comfortable listening experience, ultimately keeping the band’s unrefined sound from feeling too invasive. Memorable choruses, thunderous drumming and fast guitar riffs carry this release above and beyond the band’s former sound.