Man Overboard-Man Overboard
2011 has seen somewhat of a rebirth for pop-punk, after a period of several years that didn't see too much from the genre at all, this year has produced a slew of wonderful albums reminding of the true pop-punk glory days in all shapes and sizes. Leading that pack is a band from New Jersey who are justifying their very apt motto of 'defend pop-punk' extremely well with their heart-on-sleeve, emotionally powerful anthems of love, friendship, loss, frustration and retrospect and this self-titled second album is not only another huge gun to their arsenal but also a very important record for the genre itself.
What's most striking about the album is its consistency, yes the first five tracks fly out of the traps scoring knock-out punches but it doesn't stop there by any means, right up to the twelfth and final track its full-on quality and every one is memorable for different reasons. Opener 'Rare' is pure pop-punk brilliance with a gargantuan chorus and killer hook of 'you're so worth all of this torture' followed by the New Found Glory meets Taking Back Sunday greatness of 'Teleport' and the early Brand New angst-ridden sing-a-long of 'Voted Most Likely', it really is irrepressible stellar stuff. Bassist Nik Bruzzese and guitarist Zac Eiesenstein's dual vocals are invigorating, interweaving with each other throughout each song's course, alternating choruses and trading lines seamlessly while the quintet's three guitar wall gives them a real power that makes them sound so much bigger than many of their peers.
The lyrics are equally of top quality with everything feeling like it's in exactly its right place while articulating those hard-to-describe feelings that can meet difficult, frustrating or euphoric situations. The 'you played the CD and spun around, as my head spun around' of 'Spunn' really resonates in its emphasis of that confusing feeling where the line between total joy and uncertainty is blurred, the aforementioned 'Voted Most Likely''s blending of 'why do you look me in the eyes like you've never seen a boy before' and stunning chorus of 'meet me at the back door so we can talk more' reminds one of the up and down glorious uncertainty of love and final track 'Atlas' even has a genuine and subtle poignancy to its mix of self-doubt and determined hope, 'maybe I'll end up just like my dad but I just don't feel like a grown-up yet'.
In a year that's produced several albums in this field that are incredible in their own right, this is hands-down the very best of the lot, one of the best pop-punk albums in a very long time and an effort that deserves to see its creators go on to be revered for what they've produced. This is an album to savour.