Review Summary: Radio is neither a perfect procedure nor a botched surgery.11 of 11 thought this review was well written
Florida pop punk pioneers New Found Glory sure do have a ton of stellar accomplishments and memories to look back on in their impressive career. Critically held in some circles as one of the most consistent and influential pop punk bands of our time, the outfit has conquered numerous challenges they've taken head on in their fourteen year strong run, reaching an almost unheard of status where they answer to no one and adhere to no rules. The humble beginnings that spread across the early years quickly led to their mainstream success as a renowned generation x pop punk act but underneath the surface there has always been more than meets the eye. Perhaps it's the fact each member has deeply rooted ties in the hardcore scene which brought their package such a unique edge over the competition.
In a vast span New Found Glory have called the shots on switches between indie and major labels from the likes of Drive-Thru, Geffen, Bridge Nine, and their current label supporters Epitaph records. In a massive catalog the quintet has managed to coherently travel between different musical endeavors and pull powerhouse collaborations through classic hardcore and movie soundtrack homages. In a rather envious mention of shinfo, founding member Chad Gilbert has even romantically snatched coveted hotties such as Sherri Dupree and Hayley Williams of Eisley/Paramore fame. It's safe to assume it far from sucks to be a part of the NFG camp where they receive the best of both worlds and are widely revered by fans on several sides of the spectrum.
So how does the latest batch of NFG songs match up to their seventh original full length in stacking up to their previous releases, more importantly, does it keep up with the freshly increased hardcore elements or return to classic form? Well, to be honest, it somehow gets blurred between the lines of all their other material combined by taking a little piece of each and putting a more sugary spin on it. Radiosurgery
is basically a by the numbers progression slightly away from Not Without a Fight
that's maturely youthful and processed, yet natural. The album succeeds in standing out even though not much new ground is broken as it simply tweaks sections of the past to modern times. The musicianship is crisply upbeat while the vocal choruses and melodies are infectiously driven to drill into your subconscious. The lyrics seem to teeter more between adolescent tongue in cheek passages this time around but still retain a sense of adulthood.
Those expecting a continuation of the heavier gang chant side will probably be disappointed in their clear absence but if you're a diehard of their more straight forward sound then it shouldn't be difficult to fall in love with this album. A big positive I can testify towards Radiosurgery
is the decision to omit the usual cheesy ballad thrown in to serve as a cooling off period but almost always hinders the flow. I can't say with a straight face that I adored this album on the first listen and it may take the listener a few repeated attempts before they really start to notice the shining moments. It's not to say that the album as a whole isn't an immediate grower because tracks like 'Caught In The Act,' featuring Bethany Cosentino from surf pop act Best Coast, win your ears over in a heartbeat. The smooth sailing build up that slowly climbs to the undeniably contagious climax in 'Dumped' is probably the biggest NFG blast from the past I’ve experienced in quite some time.
I can't sing all of Radiosurgery's
praises because the cutting of four additional tracks that are only on the deluxe edition left the album feeling empty because 'Map Of Your Body' feels more like a continuation as opposed to an effective closer. There are also a few sections and ideas within the album that don't necessarily hit home because of the saturation that arises in trying to emphasize too much on the pop. I think the first moment I found myself sort of rolling my eyes is when I sensed the Fireworks likeness in 'Trainwreck' but it's by no means a terrible song in that comparison. I do think it's really cool that the band chose to cover The Ramones classic 'Blitzkrieg Bop' and had the right mind to get a blessing before playing the song. New Found Glory even played their version live at bamboozle with Marky Ramone on drums and it's by far the best rendition to date.
So in the end is Radiosurgery
the best NFG album ever put out...not by a long shot. It's still a hell of a fun record and solidifies that these men haven't lost sight of the boys at heart. In all rights, New Found Glory is a enigma that was lucky enough to cross over but thankfully never lost their humor, respect, or forgotten where they came from. The band continues to make bold steps in mainlining a mix of their upbringing and expanding on it with a radio friendly twist that has rarely been this dominate with commercial audiences. In a flourishing legacy that allows them to be accepted in the highest and toughest of crowds I'm interested to see where they decide to take it from here. If it's one thing I've always loved about this band, as predictable as their music can be at times, they keep fans on their toes and do whatever the hell they want, a damn good job at that. So love them or hate them, agree or disagree, I see these guys in it for the long haul and inspiring many more promising future acts to keep defending pop punk along the way.