Striking back to the pop-punk scene, the new effort by Neck Deep is a good mix of traditional, normative punk tunes. Is there more to come from this Welsh five-piece?
I used to really enjoy Neck Deep; I first discovered their album Rain in July / A History of Bad Decisions in mid-2015 – the height of my teenage angst, I might add – and loved their stuff. I wasn’t the biggest fan though, and to be totally honest their 2015 album Life’s Not Out to Get You mostly flew under my radar – I listened to a few songs, but never gave them much time or attention. Coming back to them in 2017 feels good, though I do have quite mixed opinions on the album itself.
Whilst there are some good songs that are a fun listen, and something I can see myself listening to quite often (Happy Judgement Day seems like a good song to add to your gym playlist with it’s upbeat and fast-paced motif,) and they’ve continued to include their distinctive acoustic song that can be found on every album, which I love to see from pop-punk bands. As well as adding variety, it shows some vulnerability. I used to love A Part of Me from Rain in July, and this album’s acoustic Wish You Were Here is a nice listen as well.
I do have a rather large problem with Neck Deep’s newest album though, and I think it’s time I addressed the elephant in the room. I stated before that Neck Deep have a mix of traditional pop-punk melodies, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. The formula is tried and tested, and many pop-punk bands still have a strong cult following after the resurgence in the late 2000s, though speaking as a fan of the genre I think it’s time to mix things up. Many of the songs on this album absolutely reek of influence from more successful pop-punk bands, namely Blink 182; Wish You Were Here and In Bloom sound like they could’ve been rejected from Enema of the State, and this is the major problem I have with this album. The songs are good, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not really original. If I wanted to listen to a band that sounds like Blink 182, I’d just go listen to Blink 182.
Neck Deep have put together a pretty decent album here, but it’s not gaining a strong score from me. The songs are pretty solid for the most part, but there’s definitely some work that needs to go in, and some inspiration that needs to be found. If Neck Deep can go away for another two years and return with some original chord progressions and lyrical subject matter, I’ll be super impressed. Until then, I’m afraid we’re stuck with the same old stuff.