A good heart attack!
Man Overboard are not trying to pretend that they are inventing a new genre; or that they are bringing forth a new experimental and ground-breaking type of music. No, the New Jersey band is a proud Pop/Punk band, even naming their website defendpoppunk.com in answer to how the genre has fallen out of fashion in the music industry. The genre peaked just over ten years ago, when bands played short verses with big layered catchy choruses, aimed to get people dancing and partying hard. The lyrics were throwaway and often comedic very much deep in High School thinking, whereas now the genre has evolved to something that has thoughtful lyrics in extended verses, but still with the melodic big chorus blueprint. It could almost be classed now as Emo-Pop/Punk.
Taking their name from the Blink 182 song, the band formed in 2008 releasing the wonderful debut, Real Talk, before the slightly diluted and disappointing self-titled Man Overboard in 2011, before unleashing this much improved album on us. In Man Overboard it has been said that the choruses and melodic hooks were wonderfully crafted but the verses seemed rushed and without substance. Here we do not have this issue: Suppy sounds like early Blink 182 but better and with NFG guitarist Steve Klein producing, songs like S.A.D. and White Lines sound a little more like New Found Glory, bringing back heavy chugging guitars into the mix in the latter, whilst the former drips with catchy stuck-in-your-head glory. There is also a hint of AFI in Hoodie Song with the band sounding like they want to bring some scream in, but someone has advised that they should sing the chorus instead.
After the solid start of opener, Secret Pain which is good but similar to other Pop/Punk bands The Wonder Years and Transit, we have the real highlight treat of the album in Boy Without Batteries. This is upbeat, catchy with its tongue firmly in its cheek. Then Where I Left You nods along beautifully, and elsewhere Re Run is great classic Pop/Punk in the form of a band like Allister, and Damage Control starts of with some classic rock riffs and thumping drums which could make you think that you were listening to the opening riffs to an 80's hair band before the vocals kick in bringing you back to the naughties. The album finishes with the slow sing-a-long acoustic track of Wide Awake.
I was a massive Pop/Punk fan throughout the late nineties and early naughties. This isn't relieving those glories, but defend the genre it does. Of the new bands that have appeared over the last five or so years, then this is probably one of the, if not the best album released. Perhaps not quite as good as old Pop/Punk heroes like NFG, Blink 182, Simple Plan and Lit, to name but a few, but even over looking a couple of filler tracks here, this is still a good solid album.