Review Summary: New Found Glory make a return to their former glory.
There comes a time in every pop-punk band’s career when you expect them to become defunct. By nature, music that explodes with hooks and energy yet is simple enough to be immediately catchy appeals to a younger demographic. As bands age and their audience grow with them, they seemingly have no choice but to make more mature music. That transformation can take on a multitude of different appearances – some bands simply tone down the immaturity while others completely change the kind of music they create. New Found Glory, for the better part of the past five years, has already been undergoing that awkward transition. Coming Home
and Not Without A Fight
saw the band trying very hard to be taken seriously, but neither of those records ended up sounding as inspired as what they had envisioned. That brings us to an alternative option, which is to resist maturity by not changing anything at all. Radiosurgery
may be New Found Glory’s way of quitting on the direction of their past few outings, but if it is any indication of what gas they still have in the tank, then giving up has never sounded so sweet.
brings back the infectious melodies, crisp-sounding guitars, and up tempo songwriting that made albums like Catalyst
and Nothing Gold Can Stay
immediately embraceable. Clear standouts like ‘Dumped’ and ‘Caught In The Act’ lend an ear back to those days, and at times it almost seems like New Found Glory gets so caught up in their own youthful memories that they begin to sound revitalized themselves. That is certainly the case during ‘Caught In The Act’, which brings a smidgen of maturity to the album’s sound with Bethany Cosentino (of Best Coast) holding down the guest vocals and nailing a short duet with front man Jordan Pundik. Perhaps the best choice New Found Glory made with Radiosurgery
was to omit what has become the “obligatory ballad” that plagues nearly every punk-rock/pop album ever made. By putting out an album with eleven solid to great pop-punk anthems, the band has ensured that Radiosurgery
will be all about making as many exciting, catchy-as-hell songs as possible. With memorable verses and contagious choruses moving at break neck pace, it is certainly better off for it.
Not every New Found Glory fan will be enthusiastic about this release, however. The aforementioned progressions in sound stemming from more recent works, namely Not Without A Fight
, have been scrapped in favor of sugary nostalgia. Gone are the gang vocals, gritty production, and faux hardcore. Whatever traces of lyrical diversity that began to surface have disappeared to reinstate the pop-punk standard of girls, relationships, sex, and heartbreak. It is a classic return to form, which as they say, can be one man’s trash and another man’s treasure. Those who thought that New Found Glory’s attempts to write more meaningful and comprehensive music was a step in the right direction will undoubtedly be disappointed by what has transpired on Radiosurgery
, despite the irrefutable surge in the overall quality of the songs.
As a whole, though, Radiosurgery
should be very well received by fans across the board. It has all the enjoyable little quirks of New Found Glory's earliest material, and most of the songs have the potential to stay lodged in your brain for days. With its crystal clear production, it is difficult not to get caught up in Radiosurgery
for what it is: a short and sweet pop-punk album designed to get you out of your chair and moving. For the first time in nearly seven years, they have done exactly that. In the face of increasing pressure to step forward, New Found Glory's latest stands tall as a triumphant moonwalk.