Man Overboard: 'Real Talk'

You should get the inkling that a band are 'defenders' of pop punk when their name shares that of a classic Blink-182 title. Man Overboard have found the recipe for this upbeat strain of rock and followed the method word for word. They are so open and clear about their inclinations it's almost the musical equivalent of coming out. Pop punk and proud.

They themselves know that "Real Talk" is a case of ticking the boxes. If it were a season it would be Summer. Or if it wasn't, it'd be sat reminiscing about the long fun-filled days we'd just had, the sun on our backs and a photo book of memories in hand. There were girls, there were friends and if they're any sort of Americans there would have been those crazy parties you see in films with those red plastic cups. You know what we're getting at don't you.

The overall feel of this record is that it's catchy, it's buoyant, it's got those types of cheeky little riffs that would never let you feel glum. The sweet harmonies and sentimental choruses of tracks like 'World Favorite' bring to mind the wonderfully gushy twee qualities of likes of Fireworks, quite a favourable comparison to anyone flying the flag of pop punk. Furthermore, the unabashed poppy rhythm of tracks like 'Fantasy Girl' suggest that Man Overboard have the strong potential for the mainstream dancefloor-filling climbs of your All Time Low level group. Not a bad place to be if you ask us.

If you were to cross-examine 'pop punk' in the dock, you would come to appreciate what a split personality the genre has. While it may have the continual sense of perkiness it does definitely fall into two camps- the overwhelmingly sweet and summery side; best buds with your Say Anything and Mayday Parade type characters. Then there's the slightly more rugged naughty side that dabbles in a bit of hardcore...looking at you, Set Your Goals and Four Year Strong. Man Overboard actually have a go at that joint-vocal interplay thing that works so well for the latter bands. 'Darkness, Everybody' and 'Al Sharpton Montrose' work well with that playful schizophrenic bobbing back and forth, giving their sound energy and depth, and this is taken further with the group vocals coasting along in the background of 'FM Dial Style'. However, there is no doubt that here is a band that stands firmly in Camp 'Sweet and Summery'.

"Real Talk" is a wonderful presentation of Man Overboard's embrace of all pop punk stands for. It's full of sunshine, fun and a good splash of whimsy, all bundled up in some catchy choruses and breezy sentiment. It's textbook, but is there really anything wrong with that? We don't think so.