Review Summary: The first disc is a great return to form for NFG but the second disc is the reason why you should buy this now.
New Found Glory has been a guilty pleasure of mine for quite some time. Their music has always been fun, upbeat and easily digestible making them my favorite in the pop punk scene, but when they released Coming Home
it seemed those days were done. Coming Home
wasn’t a bad album, but it also didn’t contain any of the elements that I mentioned above. With that in mind, it was a surprise to learn that this EP was supposedly going to contain three covers of hardcore songs, as well as three new songs in the same vein as the opening song from Catalyst
. In addition they were also including a second disc from some band named “The International Superheroes of Hardcore” (which we will get to later) that I had never heard of before. Needless to say, both fans and haters were a little skeptical about any attempt by NFG to do hardcore; so how did it turn out?
The reality of the situation is that none of the six songs are hardcore and only the opening track, “Tip of the Iceberg”, is even similar to the opening song on Catalyst
. For those that don’t know what that means, it basically means that it’s short with a fast punk beat, some hardcore shouts, and a huge pop punk leaning. The final two original songs aren’t any faster, heavier or more aggressive then anything else that came off of Catalyst
and could fit on that album easily. They’re bouncy, catchy sing-along songs about relationships with some extra shouts thrown in. With that being said, all three songs are some of the best that they’ve written in awhile and will easily appeal to fans of the band’s earlier material; it’s just not the punk revival that they were hinting at, and the three cover songs don’t help any.
The second three tracks of the NFG disc are the covers of hardcore songs. Again, only the first song has any semblance to actual punk music, with the final two sounding just as poppy as anything NFG has ever done. The easiest way to describe these cover songs is imagine the original versions of these songs, but completely glossed over with a pristine studio sound and with your sister’s gay shopping buddy on vocals. Seriously, Jordan makes absolutely no attempt to sound any more aggressive or edgy then he ever did on any NFG song and it ruins what could have been a good chance for fans to hear something different from him. Again, these are good songs and entertaining for what they are, but they could have done a lot more with them, and that is only proved more by the second disc.
The second disc is by a band called “The International Superheroes of Hardcore”, which after a little research turns out to just be New Found Glory under a pseudonym, but with guitarist Chad doing vocals and vocalist Jordan playing guitar. I was actually very surprised by the quality of this disc and would go so far as saying that it is worth the price you pay all by itself. The music they play on this album is fast, raw, and aggressive hardcore but with very childish, self-parodying, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. A good example is the fifty-six second “Screamo Gotta Go” which hits the ground at a fast pace and is obviously making fun of screamo or “Madball’s Got Our Back” which states that if you try to mess with ISHC then the guys from Madball will kick your ass. The most surprising song on this album is the forty-three second “Superhero Sellouts” due to the beat of the song actually bordering on blast beat proportions (I didn’t know they had it in them).
Overall, the first disc is a great return to form for New Found Glory and should instantly appeal to any fans of NFG releases prior to Coming Home
. My main problem with the first disc is that the second one shows that they had the ability to take this EP so much farther into the realms of hardcore and didn’t, but on its own it is still good. Again, the main reason for buying this CD is really the second disc. It shows a side of the band that forgoes any pop leanings and stays strictly in the realm of hardcore but with a sense of humor. Chad Gilbert’s vocals are great and the lyrics are highly amusing in an intentionally immature kind of way. Basically you could look at the second CD as “Fisher Price’s My First Hardcore Album” and sum it up perfectly… and I mean that in a good way.