“Rented World,” by The Menzingers – a Pennsylvania punk rock band with a sound palette including Bruce Springsteen, The Gaslight Anthem and Against Me! – is equal parts epic rock riffs and melodies and introspective lyrics.
Leading off the band’s fourth LP, the song “I Don’t Want to Be an (expletive) Anymore” harks back to the The Menzingers of old: pounding forceful drums, crunchy guitar riffs and sing-along choruses.
The palm-muted rhythm guitars drive the song from verses to choruses.
On “Rodent,” singer and guitarist Greg Barnett gets extremely self-depreciating.
“When I swore life had a purpose, when I was sure the whole things worth it, damn the days we took for granted, never again will I let anyone close to me,” he belts with tons of conviction.
That’s one thing I love about this band: they don’t sugarcoat their feelings, both musically and lyrically.
They write what they feel and that’s something to admire.
“Where Your Heartache Exists” is about the ups and downs of a relationship.
The chorus and guitar solo, a rarity especially hearing their punk beginnings, are great and a welcomed change.
“My Friend Kyle” pulls the listener back to the punk edge with loud drums, energetic guitars and an overall passion that’s evident at the LP’s start.
The following track, “Transient Love” has the same kick drum high hat beat for nearly the song’s entirety, which immediately makes the listener start tapping their feet.
The other parts of the song – one reverberating guitar and single-notes of the second guitar swirling with feedback – are something I’ve never heard from a Menzingers track.
Lyrically, though, there’s a lot more self-depreciation.
Lyrics like “I used to lie to myself all the time. I was always overreacting, screaming ‘I’m gonna die,’” Barnett sings with sadness in his voice.
Starting out with a bit of twang, the chorus on “Nothing Feels Good Anymore” doesn’t just explode right out of the gate, it blows up the gate.
Crushing guitar chords and riffs along with a snare-heavy drum beat make it epic.
The album’s lead single, “In Remission” is anchored by a big, dumb rock riff (which Barnett admits is a style of songwriting they toyed with on this LP) but it couldn’t be catchier.
I could do without some of the song’s lyrics though.
They’re not bad, there’s just something “off” about them – maybe it’s the emphatic use of “Oh yeah!”, a rock cliché, throughout – but overall it’s a great track.
Their experimenting with heavy, dumb rock riffs is a forgivable sin on this LP.
The songs came out extremely catchy and worthy of a lot of replay value.
Seeing the new songs live should be a treat.
Self-depreciating lyrics might turn off some but could relate to others.
Fans of their earlier work will no doubt give this a listen while newer fans might want to check out a few of their heavier, more energetic tracks but should start with their earlier work, especially their 2010 LP “Chamberlain Waits.”
The album, which was released Tuesday, gets four starts out of five.