Who’s that there with the pop-punk al­bum of the year? Why, it’s Neck Deep


Kerrang! (UK) - - Contents - JEN­NYFER J. WALKER

IFYOU’VE ever con­sid­ered wear­ing a ‘Neck Deep generic pop punk’ shirt non-iron­i­cally, then pay at­ten­tion, and for­get every­thing you pre­vi­ously thought about the band. On third al­bum The Peace And The Panic, gone are overly-whiny vo­cals and parts borrowed from their he­roes – (cough) blink-182 – and in their place is the pop-punk al­bum of 2017; 11 in­stantly-love­able, gen­uine­lyu­nique tracks, sure to set Neck Deep on a ca­reer tra­jec­tory that mim­ics their he­roes ex­actly.

The ti­tle per­haps sums up life for the five­some over the past cou­ple of years.while liv­ing a peace­ful ex­is­tence, play­ing shows in their band, they were thrown the kind of panic life has in store for us all even­tu­ally. In a hor­ri­ble sym­me­try of events, singer Ben Bar­low and bassist Fil Thorpe-evans both lost their dads whilst on tour, and in ad­di­tion, each lost a close friend.the pair have gone from preach­ing that life’s not out to get you on al­bum two, to ‘ac­tu­ally, life’s a dick­head and here’s how you deal with it’.

It’s the tracks that would have been hard­est for Ben and Fil to craft that see them ex­cel as song­writ­ers. On Wish You Were Here, Fil de­liv­ers a bru­tally hon­est ac­count of the car crash that took his old­est friend.as Ben sings,‘don’t say every­thing’s meant to be / ’Cause you know that’s not what I be­lieve / Can’t help but think that it should have been me,’ over an acous­tic gui­tar, you can’t help but be moved. Mean­while, on 19 Seventy Sumthin’ – equally as frank – Ben tells the story of his par­ents meet­ing, mar­ry­ing and rais­ing a fam­ily through their eyes, be­fore his dad suf­fers a heart at­tack, and the per­spec­tive flips and sees him com­fort­ing his mother to­wards the song’s uplift­ing end­ing. Both are brave, beau­ti­ful and tragic.

A 400-word re­view isn’t enough to dis­sect the in­tri­ca­cies of this record, and there’s plenty more that makes it bril­liant, like (deep breath): po­lit­i­cally-charged tracks Happy Judge­ment Day (which’ll stay in your head longer than Trump’ll be in of­fice) and Don’t Wait (bol­stered by vo­cals from Ar­chi­tects’ Sam Carter); The Grand Delu­sion, which chirpily ad­dresses self­doubt with the line,‘i think I would rather be any­one else but me’; hid­den gem Crit­i­cal Mis­take, a su­per­hooky, real-talk re­la­tion­ship track set firmly in 2017; and two songs con­tem­plat­ing life, Mo­tion Sick­ness and closer Where Do We Go When We Go. ‘We are just pass­ing by,’ states Ben, poignantly, on the fi­nal num­ber – the catchi­est on the record, en­cour­ag­ing you to press repeat on the en­tire ef­fort – be­fore his part­ing words:‘i don’t wanna wait for that good­bye to see what could’ve been / And I just wanna get one up on life be­fore it kills me.’

We’d say that’s: Life 0 – Neck Deep 1. down­load: Where Do We Go When We Go. For Fans of: All Time Low, Sum 41.

RAT­INGS kkkkk = clas­sic kkkk = ex­cel­lent kkk = good kk = av­er­age k = poor

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