Neck Deep

The Peace And The Panic

Written by: PP on 05/10/2017 14:25:27

Neck Deep have long been seen as the next big thing in pop punk, and listening to their 3rd album "The Peace And The Panic", there are moments where it's not difficult to understand why. The amount of blatant New Found Glory copycatting going on is frankly outrageous, but then again, that's how they've made a name for themselves: summery pop punk that leans on the emotional side with its melancholic, slightly whiny style of singing, referencing post-"Catalyst" era NFG, while drawing parallels to like-minded peers in Veara and State Champs. The big difference? Neck Deep's mid-tempo pop punkers are often too balladic and derivative to leave a lasting impression. At least the energy of State Champs is infectiously catchy, and that's just not happening on "The Peace And The Panic" outside of a few select cuts.

Let's start with those, then. Opener "Motion Sickness" screams of summery vibes and fun times with its upbeat expression. Similarly, "Happy Judgement Day" is a great example of pop punk done right. Its fast-paced tempo, rapid rhythm changes and upbeat nature coupled with a catchy chorus ensure a legion of fans participating and singing along live. Yes, it's almost note-by-note cloned from New Found Glory, but the song is well-written and memorable so that's all good and well. "Critical Mistake" is a decent mid-tempo piece that has a semi-acoustic vibe to it, but the catchy chorus drives the song home. "Don't Wait" is an interesting track given how far it reaches into the post-hardcore world thanks to guest segments by Architects vocalist Sam Carter. Essentially, the song sounds like a Hawthorne Heights song from the mid-2000s emo/post-hardcore explosion era.

But unfortunately, tracks like these are in the minority. Too many songs are balladic and nearly acoustic: "Parachute" for instance is cliché and boring, trying to be a large-scale anthem with a couple of bouncy riffs, but the lack of tempo drains all the energy from the song. The same goes for the nothing-saying "Wish You Were Here". "19 Seventy Sumthin'" sounds like something written together with a mainstream pop songwriter. Too light and too generic to stand out in any manner.

At times it feels like you're listening to an album's worth of repetition of Sixpence None The Richer's "Kiss Me". Too poppy, sad-toned and cliché, in other words. Pop punk is supposed to be about fun melodies and high-energy throughput perfect for bouncy pits, but that's just not happening here. It's a tired release that sounds like most of the dime-a-dozen pop punk that was coming out a good six or seven years ago when the genre suffered from oversaturation.


Download: Happy Judgement Day, Don't Wait
For the fans of: New Found Glory, Fireworks, Veara, State Champs
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.08.2017
Hopeless Records

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