When I was a kid, probably about nine or ten years old, I remember taking a road trip with my Mom and Dad. I remember it so vividly because it was one of the only road trips we ever took together as a family. On that drive, I had a CD player. Yes, those existed! I had two CDs with me, because back then, that’s pretty much all you had. On that trip, I listened to a soundtrack where I discovered New Found Glory, Simple Plan, Blink-182, Third Eye Blind, and Sum 41. It was in the middle of the summer-time, so I’m conditioned to think of summer every time I think of pop-punk.
Listening to Life’s Not Out To Get You by Neck Deep was the closest I’ve ever come to reliving that trip. Summer was the perfect time to release this not just because the band finished a successful stint as one of the headliners on Warped Tour, but because the album has a great summer-time vibe to it. I like it even better than the last record, by a landslide.
“Citizens of Earth” has so many hints of Sum 41 that it’s eerily like I’m listening to Deryck Whibley and co. “Threat Level Midnight” kicks things up in traditional “Neck Deep” style before launching into my favorite track of the summer, “Can’t Kick Up The Roots”. Both “Kali Ma” and “Gold Steps” are fantastic, channeling an energy that A Day To Remember signifies in their tracks (ADTR vocalist Jeremy McKinnon reinforces this notion when appearing in the former) It should be worth noting that Jeremy McKinnon of ADTR and their longtime-producer, Andrew Wade, produced the band’s new album. To me, it feels like the band were able to bring their own signature sound into play, but the production duo was able to help them strengthen it even more with their brand of pop-punk expertise.
The album gives tiny hints of slowing down, but doesn’t do so until “December”, the only acoustic track present. “Smooth Seas Don’t Make Good Sailors” and “I Hope This Comes Back To Haunt You” speed things right back up again with powerful choruses, before closing out with the Blink-182 reminiscent “Rock Bottom”.
Long story short: this could be the pop-punk album of the year.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.