Review Summary: A sweet little venture of memorable acoustic tracks that really shows why Man Overboard are so good
I always get really excited when it comes to acoustic songs. I'm not really sure why, I just think that there is something really pleasant about them. There's a general consensus that acoustics are particularly enjoyable. There's also a general consensus that Man Overboard are pretty excellent. So what better than to mix the two? In this respect, 2010's Noise From Upstairs
is akin to the addition of strawberry sauce to vanilla ice cream (or whatever your frozen dairy plus sauce flavour preferences may be) - to put it simply, this acoustic EP is really rather magnificent.
The EP opens with Cry Baby
, which makes early use of some surprisingly tranquil sound effects that flow into gentle guitar and those familiar savoury vocals that help define Man Overboard's sound. However, the band takes this early opportunity to show that they are capable of producing more than just a generic set of songs, as Cry Baby
soon sees the inclusion of percussion, which fertilizes the song and adds an extra layer to the generally pretty base melody. The percussion drops and the intro tune adapts into an outro as the first genuinely catchy hook that you'll find yourself singing in the shower rolls smoothly into track 2.
(who's Dylan though?) resembles the first track in percussion use, but this doesn't detract from its value whatsoever. The percussion doesn't drop with this song until the very end, and overall the 2 minutes and 46 seconds duration knock a sprinkle of liveliness into the EP in pleasant contrast to the more peaceful (and equally enjoyable) first track. The album picks up in energy from here on out.
Not overdoing it with the drums (as they've already shown us what they're capable of without having to shove it down our throats) 210B
resorts to a more classic acoustic approach relying on those guitar foundations. The entire vocal tune to this song will stick in the forefront of your mind, and even if you don't remember the words, you'll still be humming the tune wishing you could sing it. Short, clocking in at just 1:50, but nonetheless bouncing with passion and energetic guitars, 210B
is arguably the highlight of the EP.
I Saw Behemoth And It Ruled
, having since been released in electric form, is also one of Man Overboard's longer songs that, in my opinion, notably strongly showcases their capability to write longer songs which can breach that average 2-and-a-half-minutes that they often lean towards. This is a nice pick from the EP to display everything that Man Overboard can do - innovative lyrics that approach common issues from a fresh perspective, catchy and powerful hooks in both verse and chorus, and generally enjoyable tunes.
That just leaves the fifth and final track, Dear You
. I personally think this is a beautiful way to end the EP, with our favourite style of cute lyrics and sweet harmonisation of vocals neatly packed into just under 3 minutes. I'd say this is probably my favourite track, largely because of the raw emotion in the latter half of the song.
Overall Noise From Upstairs
is never officious in the slightest and proves to be an incessantly enjoyable 5 track venture to keep us occupied while we anticipate more records. It's a shame the EP lasts no longer than 13 minutes, and hopefully the strong positive response Noise From Upstairs
has received will be an encouraging beginning to a string of successful acoustic EPs from our favourite New Jersey pop punk guardians. Man Overboard do not attempt to choke us in order to prove their ability to diversify otherwise generic music; what an adept and refreshingly original group!
Production - 5/5
Crisp and clear, allows all instruments and vocals to be clearly distinguished from another
Lyrics - 3.5/5
Fresh perspectives on mundane concerns, basic but smart
Sound - 4.5/5
Beautiful manifestation of acoustics to a quality that few are able to rival
Replay value - 4/5
Generally rather unforgettable songs that stick in your mind without ever being annoying
Another entry from monstrous pop punkers Man Overboard that you should make sure you don't miss; anyone should simply love this collection of songs from one of the most proficient bands to be seen in recent years.