Man Overboard

The Human Highlight Reel

Written by: DR on 10/06/2011 18:28:55

Whether you agree with Man Overboard that pop punk was in need of defending, or whether you find the idea of one band claiming to defend a genre just plain silly, few can argue with the quality of releases in the emerging scene that the labels Run For Cover and No Sleep (and more!) have brought to us in recent years. One of the most popular acts from said scene, and rightly so, is Man Overboard.

It has not even been a year since the release of their debut full-length "Real Talk", and the quintet (fresh from welcoming guitarist Wayne Wildrick back into the band) are already back in the studio with producer Jesse Cannon (Transit's "Keep This To Yourself"). But, Man Overboard don't want to keep their fans waiting for new stuff that long, and so have released "The Human Highlight Reel", a collection of "EPs, B-Sides and Other Assorted Songs".

Well, I say 'new stuff', however, there are only two genuinely brand new songs: "Driveway" and "Melanie, Video Games And A Slight Fear Of Flying", both of which are catchy enough to have easily slotted in to "Real Talk". The electric version of "Love Your Friends, Die Laughing" is a particular surprise as they've managed to translate it from its original acoustic form into a full band version without losing any of the magic. In fact, the first eight songs would make up a long EP, or a short LP, but either way it'd be a very decent release showing everything good about Man Overboard, and in many ways pop punk in general: hooks aplenty, great dual vocal-interplay, infectious melodies, and the kind of energy that can only be achieved when the band are 100% sincere in what they're creating.

The following half of the release, excluding an underwhelming cover of The Promise Ring's "Red Paint", sees MOB put away their amps and break out the acoustic guitars as they fully delve into their mellower yet soppier side. Although efforts such as "I Saw Behemoth (Acoustic)", "210B" and "Different People" are largely unremarkable, "Dear You", in the midst of them, announces itself as one of the album's stand-out tracks; it starts with soft vocals and the strumming of a few chords, like most acoustic songs do, and then there's the quiet bridge that allows you to really take in the low-key vocals, so when the huge gang-cries at the end come blazing in they catch you completely off-guard. "Dylan's Song" and closer "Decemberism", for which they reintroduce the electric guitars and build the song on simple riffs, like a lot of their work, both succeed because of the irresistible vocal chemistry between Nik and Zac.

Despite mostly being a collection of B-sides and throwaway songs, Man Overboard's quality shines through. And, with summer just around the corner, people will be in search of albums to soundtrack theirs, which makes "The Human Highlight Reel" an essential addition to the playlist of any pop punk fan.

7

Download: Driveway; Love Your Friends, Die Laughing; Dylan's Song; Dear You; Decemberism
For The Fans of: Fireworks, The Wonder Years, Transit
Listen: Bandcamp

Release Date 10.05.2011
Run For Cover Records

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