There is nothing revolutionary about The Menzingers. The chord progressions you will have heard a million times before and the song structures are at times painfully straightforward. However, what made this album so special lies not in its technical brilliance or its distinctiveness, but the sheer power of the emotions it evokes.
A bleeding honesty, love and integrity oozes out of every pore of the Pennsylvanian quartet’s third full LP. The lyrics are not going to win any literary prizes, yet have all the more clout for it.
They are able to produce the sense of the beautiful joy and pain in youthful drunken nights. The triumphant choruses to standout songs like Gates, Good Things and The Obituaries dare you to not sing along.
In a year when sonic emulation was the predominate theme across records, this album is refreshing in trying to be nothing more than a collection of brilliantly written punk-rock songs where the artist holds nothing back. In many ways it’s reminiscent of The Gaslight Anthem’s recent album Handwritten, which was also a definite high point of the year.
What distinguishes the music we appreciate and the music we love is our emotional response towards it. No album released this year produced the same raw response as this one did. It is for that reason that I would consider it the best album of 2012.