Review Summary: The thrash of pop punk.
If there’s one band in the world of pop punk that absolutely shreds, it would have to be New Found Glory. For nearly fifteen years the Florida based act have been pumping out solid releases, all of which show off their unusually high energy level. The only album they’ve done that didn’t really follow their usual upbeat formula was 2006’s “Coming Home”, which was more relaxed and had a bit more experimentation. It was still a good album, but New Found Glory are never better than when they’re firing on all cylinders and none of their albums are quite as lively as their self titled album. It’s an energetic pop punk album that takes hold of the listener and refuses to let go.
Much like a thrash album, New Found Glory’s self titled album is an adrenaline fueled ride that doesn’t slow down once throughout the entire experience. The band gets off to a great start on the opening track ‘Better Off Dead’ as rapid drums and upbeat riffs open the album. All the instruments are played at a faster level than most the band's peers giving the song an almost thrash like feel. There’s also a great sense of melody in some songs such as the stand out track ‘Dressed To Kill’. It was one of the band’s first smash hits and it’s not hard to see why. Although the guitars and drums might not be quite as aggressive as on other songs, they’re still quite upbeat and the song is full of some of the most memorable hooks in the band’s entire catalogue. Their other single on the album ‘Hit or Miss’ manages to be just as catchy, but it shreds twice as hard. It’s an undeniably fun song that references listening to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and the chorus couldn’t be more infectious.
Unlike many bands of the genre, New Found Glory are able to keep the momentum going for the entirety of their self titled album and there’s not a bad song in the bunch. All the songs are made even better by the cheery, upbeat vocals of Jordan Pundik. At first, his vocals will likely be an acquired taste as they are rather nasally, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some of the best vocalists in pop punk have nasally vocals that for whatever reason, add character to the songs. It’s a vocal style you either love or hate, but Jordan Pundik is one of the most refreshing vocalists in the genre. He sounds fantastic on this album, using slight aggression vocally on songs like the fast paced closer ‘Ballad For The Lost Romantics’, while showing how well he can actually sing on songs like ‘Dressed To Kill’.
New Found Glory is a band not to be ignored. Containing one of the most consistent discography’s in all of pop punk, they’ve really made a name for themselves these last fifteen years and their self titled album is a real milestone for the band. It’s their most demanding release and the guitar work and frantic drums on the album are likely to even please fans of thrash music. Like many thrash albums, it grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go until you’ve experienced it’s wrath. Sure, the vocals are more cheery, but the album really is relentless in the way it doesn’t let up on the energy levels. It’s one of the best pop punk albums of all time that I’d openly recommend to anybody, whether they’re a fan of the genre or not.