Neck Deep misses the mark with their latest instalment as it presents all bark, no bite.
Pop-Punk: Growing Out of It
With their fourth album now released for the boys from Wrexham, it seems that pop punk will never grow old – but the musicians behind it will.
Growing up. It’s what we all go through. Growing up comes with maturity, a change of ideals, thoughts and … sounds.
Nowadays, pop punk bands are approaching the tender age of now growing up, having families and moving on from their reckless youths where we first fell in love with their music, because we were reckless youths too.
Of course, with this passing of time comes with change. Is it a change of ideas where new sounds are created, causing boring, slowed down versions of what they used to make? As an audience, this is what we hate to see. We don’t want to forget our youth, after all, it’s why we listen to pop-punk, right? With so many bands turning over to embellished electronic pop from loud and proud punk –
… Are Neck Deep doing the same?
Or are we simply getting older too? …
With bands wanting to forever change their sounds to get closer to what they really want to create, who are we stop them? I mean, after all, we all have to grow up sometime.
Maybe we don’t want to accept the fact that these new sounds from pop-punk bands remind us of this.
Neck Deep’s New Sound – ‘All Distortions Are Intentional’
When pop-punk powerhouses Neck Deep first burst onto the pop-punk scene properly with their erratic debut, Wishful Thinking in 2014, and with Life’s Not Out To Get You swiftly following in 2015, they seemed to be reaching new heights in the world of pop-punk.
But with the third album, The Peace and the Panic in 2017, we saw the band undergo huge changes in not only the musical style but the band line-up, too.
With hits such as “In Bloom” and “Critical Mistake” off the record, fans began to see that the band was beginning to change from their angsty youths that was seen so prominently on their first two albums. These songs soon became the polar opposites to fan favourites of “Losing Teeth.” and “Can’t Kick Up The Roots.”
Now comes their fourth instalment with “All Distortions Are Intentional” – a name that seems apt the more you listen to the record.
‘We’ve come so far / So far from where we were before’Ben Barlow, I Revolve (Around You)
When their brilliantly eccentric and promising singles of “Lowlife” and “Fall” first exploded onto the scene prior to the album back in July, it seems that it was down to the audience to presume the rest of the album would be on this same wavelength.
With its ultimately fun and undeniably catchy pre-released singles keeping the album afloat where it finalises with strongly-equipped “Telling Stories” and bright “When You Know” during the first half of the album, it’s a shame that the album does not share the same desire during the second half.
Dare I say it, but the album is a-washed with fillers.
With the album transitioning into “Sick Joke,” “What Took You So Long” and “Empty House” from the pointless interlink of “Quarry” – giving us a heads-up that it will get somewhat sad from here on in, it is nothing short of quaint, slow and boring. Although “Little Dove” is a sweet swan-song to those who we have lost, it is another on the track list that is skippable.
“I Revolve (Around You)” is the one blessing in the second half of the album, but yet again, is an easy thrill that features a smooth, catchy chorus – that the band does scarily well.
The album ends with oddball “Pushing Daises” where the song finalises on an explosive tantrum from Ben uttering, ‘Fuck society, fuck your politics, fuck yourself and fuck the way it is,‘ which fair to say, caught and grabbed my attention – it was just a shame it was at the end of the album.
In terms of musicality from this album, I have always loved Dani’s drumming but even his intricate drumming and complex grooves falls short with him playing just the bare minimum on each song.
Of course, we don’t know if the departure of original member Lloyd Roberts back in 2015, disrupted the band’s integral songwriting process, but it’s worth the thought with an album such as this one, because the second half of this most recent album from Neck Deep seemed abrupt and lazy to make.
Whatever we feel, it seems that the band’s poppy new direction is lost on me, but I guess that’s what 16 year old teens enjoy nowadays for pop-punk, and I am simply too old to share the same enjoyment. But that’s a part of growing up I guess, eh?