Here The Menzingers continue to draw from what they know best, recounting stories of dive bars, empty bottles and broken hearts. But, there’s also a new found maturity and confidence to the record that shows a band who are unperturbed by the high expectations placed upon them. The album is remarkably consistent, with the lack of any single standout track demonstrating the quality of an album which rarely drops below the level of excellence. From the storming chorus of opening track ‘I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore’ to the final hanging chords of closer ‘When You Died’ there is barely a wasted moment.
‘Rented World’ gives barely a second of respite, constantly driving forward. When vocalist Greg Barnett snarls “I want to chew up my dinner and spit it in your face” on lead single ‘In Remission’ it’s loaded with venom. Yet the closing refrain of “If everyone needs a crutch then I need a wheelchair” shows a far more sensitive, vulnerable side. This loud soft dynamic has been done to death - ever since Kurt Cobain howled through the chorus of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ - but The Menzingers are one of the few bands since to really pull it off, coming across as natural rather than derivative.
The honesty and frankness of much of The Menzingers’ music is still evident on ‘Rented World’. While the album is firmly rooted in the band’s Pennsylvania home, the themes of personal suffering and emotional anxiety that it addresses are universal. That they address these issues without a hint of irony or pretence is testament to a band who are completely comfortable in what they do.
‘Rented World’ might not be quite the landmark that it’s predecessor was - it’s unlikely to be a fixture of too many album of the year lists outside of the punk scene - but regardless of the accolades it may or may not win, it is evidence of a band who know exactly what they want to do, and have little trouble in achieving it.
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