Gregor Barnett
Don't Go Throwing Roses in My Grave


3.5
great

Review

by Mathias STAFF
March 1st, 2022 | 24 replies


Release Date: 02/18/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dialing in that old time radio/Sayin', "Boys, they don't sing it like they used to!"

Punk rockers love making stripped back Americana albums. With his debut solo effort, Gregor Barnett of The Menzingers has joined Laura Jane Grace, Dan Campbell (in two iterations), Brian Fallon (also twice), Chris Cresswell, and countless others in going back to the roots of their parent genre. Punk rock, Americana, and country music all originated from the blues, a common denominator that leads to good music more often than not, meaning that those solo outings have been mostly been successful, if not underwhelming compared to their main bodies of work. The Menzinger's frontman's first solo release ultimately follows that same trend. Barnett utilizes a full band sound that is more reminiscent of Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties (Dan Campbell) or The Horrible Crowes (Brian Fallon), although much more grounded than either of those offerings. None of this should come as a surprise, as Americana has always been in the undercurrents of The Menzingers music, to the extent that they released a fully campfire-ified version of their most recent album, but Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave stands on its own - This isn’t just Greg from The Menzingers, this is Gregor and he’s got a harmonica now.

Barnett went the solo artist strategy of going fully introspective on Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave. This is the Southern Rock that Barnett’s grew up listening to and, as such, the album is inspired by past personal relationships, by family, by struggles with faith, and yes, by Covid. In other words, it’s an Americana album made in the 2020s. Thankfully, this also isn’t an acoustic lockdown album - The songs are full and dense, with the percussion actually being a highlight that serves as much more than just a rhythm section, which is what is typically all it’s expected to be in the genre. Will Yip’s production also leads to a number of welcome unique moments, such as the distorted shouts at the end of “Oh Lord, What Do You Know?” and a number of haunting moments on delta rocker “The First Dead Body I Ever Saw”. Barnett plays with song structures and melody in welcome ways, with the syncopated vocal lines on “No Peace of Mind to Rest” being a perfect example of a simple but effective play on musical expectations, especially when a harmonica solo is sandwiched in between them.

Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave suffers the most when Barnett chooses to go too Americana and imitates some of the pioneers of the genre - “Driving Through the Night” is Springsteen, “Talking To Your Tombstone” is Cash, “Anthem For the One I Love” is The Allman Brothers. Each of these sound as if Barnett is trying to write someone’s else’s songs, both musically and lyrically. If there’s one thing that both punk and Americana have in common, it’s that they need to feel authentic if they’re going to hit the emotional heights the songwriter aims for. It’s not that the three aforementioned songs don’t sound authentic, it’s that they don’t sound as authentic as the other clearly personal songs found on Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave, so they compromise the emotional integrity that Barnett is trying to create.

If anything, Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave is an album that suffers in comparison to itself and particularly in comparison to one song: Closer “Guest In Your House”. While the rest of the album certainly offers a number of highlights, nothing hits the emotional or songwriting highs of the closer or, frankly, even comes close. This comparison isn’t to say that the rest of the album isn’t great, but instead serves as an indication of how powerful “Guest In Your House” is. Never have Barnett’s quivering vocals sounded more human than when he is casting a glance back towards his complicated childhood, leaning fully into lyrics that tell the stories of the people that raised him. Barnett takes a risk in not letting the song end in an explosion of sound that he seems to be teasing, and the song is all the better for it, as it lets the lyrics rightfully be the emotional payoff. Through both its music and lyrics, Don’t Go Throwing Roses in My Grave tells us about the man who created the album. This makes “Guest In Your House” a perfect closer, as it tells us about the people who created that man and, no matter the inconsistencies that occurred before it, makes us want to hear more from him.



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user ratings (46)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
tyman128
Contributing Reviewer
March 1st 2022


3433 Comments


great review! this sounds like something I need to check soon

dmathias52
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2022


1733 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Appreciate it! If you're into The Menzingers or this style of music, I definitely recommend it. Even if you don't listen to the entire thing, check Guest In Your House

Not sure if I prefer this to any Menzinger's album, but it also is entirely it's own thing, so I don't think that comparison is necessarily fair

Colton
March 1st 2022


15573 Comments


corny ass title and cover but Menzingers are good enough for me to make sure I still check this out

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2022


3910 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice, dmathias! Glad to see this get a review, and a good one at that!



I actually don't really agree with your song choices, as Talking To Your Tombstone and Anthem For The One I Love are some of my favorites, but to each their own, of course.

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2022


58801 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I found this to be very OK with the closer being the only great track

butt.
March 1st 2022


9864 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Still loving this. But ya know, I’m a sucker for punk-goes-americana

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2022


17239 Comments


Could just be me but:

Punk rockers love making stripped back Americana albums. With his debut solo effort, Gregor Barnett of The Menzingers has joined Laura Jane Grace, Dan Campbell (in two iterations), Brian Fallon (also twice), Chris Cresswell, and countless others.


Are these sentences kind of weird/random when saddled next to each other? Maybe I just wanted to read why Punk rockers love making stripped back Americana albums and not a list of collaborators. The rest of that intro para follows suit and doesn't really tie that opening sentence in, especially as it sounds like a thesis headline. idk - two cents and all that.

Crawl
March 1st 2022


2880 Comments


I thought Driving Through the Night sounds just like a Menzingers song from their last album, rather than a Springsteen song. Album's fine, glad Greg has done it as a solo though and I hope this sound won't bleed into the next Menzingers record.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
March 1st 2022


4505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh hey sick, completely forgot to check this but will def do so now!

great review, curious to see how i'll like this since the slow menz songs are generally my least favs

butt.
March 1st 2022


9864 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

“ I thought Driving Through the Night sounds just like a Menzingers song from their last album, rather than a Springsteen song.”

Exactly what I thought when I heard it. Just sounds like a Menzingers song

Feather
March 1st 2022


8238 Comments


I like Bobby Barnett more, but this was a pleasant listen 3-3.5 when I listened earlier this week. Not particularly diverse, but solid all the way through.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2022


27407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

been meaning to check this



nice review mr. Mathias

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2022


16544 Comments


i wasn't super excited for this but the buzz has me interested. great review

Project
March 2nd 2022


5459 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

too much of this just sounds like recent Menzingers

Digging: Silent Drive - Fairhaven

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2022


4505 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah this was definitely as decent as i expected it to be, was hoping for a lil more tho

dmathias52
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2022


1733 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It definitely sounds more like recent Menzingers than past Menzingers, but I don't see too much comparison honestly, outside of Driving Through The Night. I think that has the bones of a Menzingers song but the execution is a lot different



@Gnocchi, that section did read a little awkwardly once you pointed it out. I edited it, but may have just put a band aid on something that needs a different body

Atari
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2022


27407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ya my first thought was this just makes me want to listen to The Menzingers but then I jammed this 5 times back to back and can't stop



Hendoi
March 4th 2022


394 Comments


fuckin gregor

butt.
March 4th 2022


9864 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Most of this album is very different from anything Menzingers would put out, with the exception of driving through the night

tom79
March 4th 2022


3896 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like "Talking to Your Tombstone" a lot. Pretty solid album, I felt it was only a matter a time before Greg put out something like this.



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