Neck Deep
Life's Not Out To Get You


4.0
excellent

Review

by TBH717 USER (6 Reviews)
August 15th, 2015 | 59 replies


Release Date: 08/14/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The torch of pop punk has finally been passed.

Pop punk has become a scene dominated by masters of melancholy. The most recent revival has been one for an aimless generation, stuck on breakups and wanderlust. Genre titans like The Story So Far and The Wonder Years relate the cards of loss, depression, and angst to an audience that devours. This makes for respectable music, but lost in transmission are the upsides to life in middle-class suburbia. Neck Deep has retread the footsteps of these acts for the bulk of their career, but “Life’s Not Out To Get You” marks a sudden shift in direction. Neck Deep steps out of the shadows and energetically plays up a setlist brimming with energy, catchiness, and the one ingredient that modern punk too often seems to omit: fun. It’s a towering homage to punk of decades past and millennial pop culture. This record is one of a band revived, finally settled into a niche that has gone unoccupied for years.

The most instantly noticeable elements of the album are the shift in tone, and the greatly improved production. The hooks are more anthemic, the vocals pop more, and the overall mood is far more uplifting. The band has traded explosive chugging for a more refined and balanced instrumental quartet. Ben Barlow no longer sounds strained, instead settling comfortably into a very polished baritone piping. Palm-muted guitars move through verses like machine guns, building into massive choruses and bridges that contain some of the most impressive and captivating vocal riffing heard this side of Blink. “Threat Level Midnight” moves blisteringly fast as Barlow churns out plugs to pop culture powerhouse, The Office. “Can’t Kick Up the Roots” is an upbeat tribute to a downbeat hometown, with a kick-ass chorus to boot. “Kali Ma” nimbly incorporates an extensive homage to Indiana Jones within the framework of standard break-up angst, crashing into a closer that directly quotes the film and turns the theme of the song on its head. “Lime St.” is a game of ebb and flow between the swift verses and a more restrained, melodic chorus. “The Beach is For Lovers…” stays neatly within the confines of Neck Deep’s formula, but executes the strongest lead hook in the entire tracklist. “I Hope This Comes Back To Haunt You” is an experimentation with the same formula, spiraling into a monumental final minute before fading into silence. The record could have arguably ended here and been absolutely fine, but Neck Deep has an occasional insistence to step out of their defined sound. This unfortunately works to their detriment on several songs.

“Rock Bottom” is a perfectly decent song in its own right, but as a closer falls fairly flat. It doesn’t leave much of an impression or close with any particularly notable remarks. Similarly, the opener “Citizens of Earth”, while a nice throwback to punk of decades past, is a strange choice for an introduction. It’s the position of the opener to set a tone for the album, but the tone of the song is displaced and never again toyed with. It stands alone in its sound and feels wholly unnecessary. The acoustic sing-a-long “December” is the closest that any of the tracks come to being filler. Seemingly an attempt to recreate the success of earlier acoustic work “A Part of Me”, the song doesn't really provide much in the way of a softer selection.

Taken at face value, this record kicks serious ass. It knows its target audience and, while certainly capable of mainstream appeal with its pop-flavored anthemic hooks, is mostly aimed to please its immediate fanbase with a strong improvement on a familiar formula. Neck Deep have certainly sailed their fair share of rough seas, but have now chartered a smoother course for sun-baked beaches and snowy suburbias. “Life’s Not Out to Get You” is a soundtrack for car rides and late nights, and it really doesn't have to be anything more to be of the highest quality. The torch of pop punk has finally been passed - and it's in very capable hands.



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user ratings (319)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
TBH717
August 15th 2015


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This probably didn't need another review 4.0+ but apparently while in the process of revising, two other reviews went up

But I wasn't gonna let it go to waste so here you guys are

erizen826
August 15th 2015


852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Idk if I'd consider Knuckle Puck a titan of the genre. They're fucking excellent but I don't know if they've got the massive fanbase that TWY and TSSF do.

TBH717
August 15th 2015


46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You're right, they don't. At the time the thought process was that I needed another example to round out the comparison, but thanks, fixed

iChuckles
August 16th 2015


248 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. After my fifth listen I also think "Citizen..." is a weird, albeit still fun opener and "I hope this comes back..." should have been the finale, that last minute is one of the album's strong points.

NorwichScene
September 4th 2015


2397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Glad I gave this a chance, its really grown on me. I think the full band version of December is better than the acoustic, but can see why they did it

JS19
October 24th 2015


6056 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wait this was good? Damn

Digging: Sleeping at Last - Atlas - Space 2

BandNewbac
October 24th 2015


2352 Comments


no it wasnt

JS19
October 24th 2015


6056 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your opinion is not shared by the majority

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2015


22464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Old-school pop-punk is the name of the game on Neck Deep's 2nd LP 'Life's Not Out to Get You'. Far from innovative, the Welsh quintet's influences are obvious, successfully taking listeners back to the early 2000s. Produced by genre stalwarts Jeremy McKinnon, Tom Denney & Andrew Wade, this is a fun & energetic record that is jam-packed full of infectious choruses. The lyrics may be cliched, but are competent & relatable, and while the album is undoubtedly front-loaded, the sufficient diversity on show during the back half is a positive sign for the band's longevity. Recommended Tracks: Can't Kick Up the Roots, Gold Steps, Lime St. & Rock Bottom.

SnakeDelilah
October 25th 2015


20005 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

here i go again

Digging: Glassjaw - Material Control

grindcorecore
October 25th 2015


617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm suprised how much i liked this. however i think rock bottom is a pretty weak end track tbh, should have just ended after i hope this comes back...

TheSonomaDude
October 25th 2015


5753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's cool enough yah

pepster50
October 28th 2015


407 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

people actually like this album ? 1st and 3rd song are good, rest lacks any standout tracks.

SteveP
December 21st 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This sounds like a b-rate Set Your Goals. Eww.

Elvis
December 25th 2015


38 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Still can't decide between this and Turnover for album of the year

Anthracks
January 5th 2016


6080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feel like I'm thirteen again.

Digging: Interminable Corruptions - Xenodimensional Conflux

Archael
January 5th 2016


1163 Comments


duuude noooo

LoLifant
January 8th 2016


1269 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This guys have a lot of potential in terms of catchy sung refrains but they need to vary more with the guitars. Feels like the same chords all over, just in different rhythms or arrangements.

BlacKapes
February 17th 2016


1927 Comments


album is pretty bad, the only thing that guitarist is good at is diddling teenage girls

LoLifant
February 17th 2016


1269 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

as much as I hate scum like the blood on the dancefloor "guy" who abuses his fans, the thing about the guitarist seems to have been just some attentionseeking tumblrgirl



http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1snl438



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