Review Summary: While not quite meeting the standards of their peers, Man Overboard release another consistent pop-punk album.
Way back when MTV was still a music channel, in the late 1990’s, bands like New Found Glory, blink-182, Sum 41 and Yellowcard were constantly being played on TRL and other various programs, and thus the genre of pop-punk caught my attention. Those bands were influential to most pop-punk bands today, and while they still put out albums every other year or so, there has been a regime change, if you will, within the genre. The “big three” that have led this change are The Story So Far, The Wonder Years, and Man Overboard. While TSSF and TWS take more of a hardcore approach to pop-punk, Man Overboard tends to lean on the poppier side of the genre. On their debut and self-titled this was not a problem, there was plenty of speed and somewhat aggressiveness that was able to even out with the pop. I’m happy to say that although “Heart Attack” is a slightly different change of pace than the bands previous albums, Man Overboard release yet another unique album in the pop-punk genre.
There are not as many fast paced pop-punk anthems such as “Headstone” or “Something’s Weird,” but a lot of the songs stick to the catchiness that the band is known for. The albums first two tracks, “Secret Pain” and “Boys Without Batteries” are classic Man Overboard pop-punk anthems. “Where I Left You” screams Tell All Your Friends era Taking Back Sunday, while the albums best song, “Hoodie Song,” shows the band doing their best Set Your Goals impression; they do it better than SYG themselves, it really stands out. “Hoodie Song” proves to be the best song in the band’s rather short career. The band made a good choice for the guest vocalist spot on the album. Thursday’s Geoff Rickly fits right in on “Open Season” and really adds to the vocals towards the end of the song. Lead single “White Lies” is one of the weakest songs on the album as it comes off as a Hawthorne Heights b-side rather than a Man Overboard song. Closing track “Wide Awake” is a really dull acoustic song that is out of place and ends the album on a rather sour note. The dual vocals are still there as Zac Eisenstein and Nik Bruzzese trade of ever so smoothly, they have even improved slightly as they come off less whiny than on previous releases. The lyrics are your typical Man Overboard, cheesy high school clichés are the name of the game once again and they leave room to be desired.
“Heart Attack” is another quality album in Man Overboard’s discography. While MO don’t quite meet the standards of The Story So Far or The Wonder Years, the do the poppier side of punk-punk quite well and continue to be one of the biggest names in the scene.