Review Summary: New Found Glory starts to sound like Old Lost Glory as they leave us to remember the Glory days.
Oh the mighty have fallen. In 2000, New Found Glory released what many fans believed was their greatest effort to date following their debut, Nothing Gold Can Stay. From The Screen to Your Stereo was a near perfect collection of memorable reworked songs with a concept in mind, giving a selection of songs from the big screen and twisting them into pop punk tunes. The formula was simple, enjoyable and displayed a wide range of song catalog choices, while managing to only have 8 tracks.
Somehow over the years New Found Glory has fallen off the pop punk pedistool. Maybe it was the worst NFG impression I've heard when they released Catalyst, or alienating many of the fans they had left when they "reinvented" their sound with Coming Home. It seemed like the perfect idea once the band were downsized from their major label to return to FTSTYS original home, Drive-Thru records.
Jordan Pundik's vocals can sometimes be a hard swallow at times, due to his over nasally high pitched vocal chords. Pundik's voice is usually at it's best when he doesn't try to over do it, like he has been in recent times. Sadly, he isn't giving those pipes a rest. There are a few too many moments when Pundik ventures off into it's own planet. Love Fool (Romeo + Juliet) had potential to transfer a decent cover, but the chorus vocals begs to differ, as it can lead to serious cringworthy moments. It's already hard enough to cover an original Bob Dylan song, but why put it in the hands of these guys. It Ain't Me Babe (Walk The Line) took the wrong approach to start off with by trying to keep a country undertone while mildly keeping it upbeat, not to mention the out of pitch vocals that was slapped on. It just really seemed like a wrong song choice to boot.
As for the sound, though the production seemed well crafted, I just really sensed that the instrumental transfers for most of these songs aren't too thought out. Lead Guitarist Chad Gilbert lacks any real effort to give depth to these songs. The rest of the band doesn't seem to be interested in this idea of a sequel as well, (aside for a few shining moments for Cyrus Bolooki on drums). Iris (City Of Angels) seems like the most likely choice for a movie themed cover due to it's wild success and likeability. Not only is the Goo Goo Dolls song better, this version is so uneven that it doesn't want to decide whether it is fast paced or sentimentally soft. Terrible cover song on what had the most potential. What could be the worst cover in recent times, Don't You Forget About Me (The Breakfast Club), is just a complete mess. Pundik sounds uncharasmatically under toned to a hard riffed melody that is the most detached from the original Simple Minds cover. There are better versions out there, don't waste your time here.
When worst comes to worst, bring in the cameos! Plenty of cameos can be heard here from some of today’s most popular pop-punk acts. Patrick Stump, Chris Carrabba, Max Bemis and many more join the NFG crew on ruining movie classics. Actually most of the guest appearances are an improvement. Chris Carrabba of the Dashboard Confessional fame does nice back up to Pundik as their voices blend nicely on The Promise (Napoleon Dynamite). Adam Lazzarra (Taking Back Sunday) has his own verse on Love Fool, Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) adds back up flavor on The King Of Wishful Thinking (Pretty Woman), each adding their own flavor while not being over done. But as much respect as I have for Max Beemis(Say Anything), there is nothing about him that screams New Found Glory back up. Which is why he doesn't fit singing on "Crazy For You" (Vision Quest).
Though there are a few salvageable tracks out of this uneven mess, but not enough to warrant any kind of recommendation. Kiss Me (She's All That) follows the original song formula perfectly to the traditional New Found Glory style. As well as the most interesting cover of Head Over Heals (Donnie Darko), where the elements that failed before hand, somehow worked for a well done closer. Everything else in between is just a "listen at your own risk basis."
I guess the nostalgia has worn off this time around, though it has come as a big surprise to me. Maybe my hopes were too high when I learned a sequel was on the way. Or it could be that this is nearly that bad. The lack of heart is what I gathered from this album. The multiple guest appearances are basically quick selling points, though they are welcome with open arms.My mother always taught me that "What's not worth doing right, isn't worth doing at all." Here's to hoping for Eye Of The Tiger cover for the trilogy, if it makes it that far.
The Sludge's: Thumb Up's
Head Over Heals