Wrexham’s Neck Deep are a true British success story and have now found themselves as one of the biggest pop punk band’s on the planet. Their sophomore record Life’s Not Out To Get You (Hopeless Records) became an instant genre classic and pushed the band to global recognition. It even secured a Top 10 placing on the Billboard chart.
So with all that success and adoration we come to new album The Peace And the Panic (Hopeless Records) and one might expect the band to stick to the sound that has brought them top this point but as we all know sometimes life can throw us constant curveballs.
The passing of vocalist Ben Barlow’s father informs much of this album both in lyrics and feeling and there is definitely a level of maturity not shown by the band on previous albums. Tracks like ‘Where Do We Go When We Go’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ are wrought with emotion and far removed from the shimmering summertime anthems which fans have come to know and love. The latter song is beautifully constructed in it’s simplicity you just find you yourself wrapped up in the lyrics and emotion of Ben’s voice.
While die hard fans may not get on board with these new musical stylings they should fear not because around every corner is an absolute stormer of a pop punk track.
Songs like the brilliant ‘Heavy Lies’ and ‘The Grand Delusion’ are glorious and quintessentially Neck Deep in every way. With the former sounding like summer captured in musical form. Catchy to the point of being infectious, the guitars and drums are beyond perfection, this is the band’s comfort zone and they just know instinctively what buttons to push.
In particular the drums of Dani Washington are great on this album he really brings so much to the sound overall with constant fills and rhythms to keep the listener engage but never does he allow it to become the focal point, it really evokes memories of early Blink 182 and the talents of Travis Barker.
‘Don’t Wait’ sees the band shift into another gear and is probably the heaviest song that the band have recorded so far. This song which features Sam Carter of Architects on backing vocals is a potent political statement and matches perfectly up with the album’s artwork. The inclusion of Sam’s screams against the backdrop of the band’s music is a brilliant combination.
For someone who had been “done” with pop punk basically since the early 00’s this new album from Neck Deep has really grown on me. Brilliantly realised anthems are matched with a new emotional and more diverse style of songwriting. This will only serve the band in garnering more success.