Man Overboard

Man Overboard

Written by: DR on 10/10/2011 20:38:26

Whether "DEFEND POP PUNK!" was an ironic, t-shirt pushing put-gas-in-our-van-please slogan or a genuine battle cry, you can't really argue that the genre went through a patchy period last decade. New Found Glory aside, many bands didn't survive the major-label attention to pop punk which helped catapult the genre into the focus of the mainstream, resulting in bands who focused more on their hair than their heart and their style than their songs, which must have been heartbreaking for the genre-philes.

Man Overboard et all helped bring the genre back to where it belongs: the hearts of the socially awkward, with bad hair and no style but shit-loads of heart (but still All Time Low persist!!!!!!). This was with their debut album, "Real Talk". A little over a year later and fans of the band will be delighted to hear that Man Overboard have barely changed. The focus is still on staying true by playing simple pop punk, singing with enthusiasm about girls and being driven by passion for the genre rather than pay-cheques.

If you hadn't figured out already, opener "Rare" tells you pretty much everything you need to know about "Man Overboard". Hyper-active drumming has shades of punk about it as it maintains an urgency in the verses against a melodic chorus about a girl, the bridge slows things down just enough as to seem introspective before ending with huge group sing-alongs in the closing moments. It has been done before, but the energy is fresh, and that's the key to the resurgence of pop punk in recent years. The ideas may not be ground-breaking and the lyrical themes may have been done before, but the intent is raw and heart-felt and it's exactly what the genre needed.

If there is one criticism to be directed at "Man Overboard" it is at the lyrics. Man Overboard have never been especially good lyricists, but lyrics as questionable as "Three thousand miles till I’m sleeping in your bed / You’re not next door / You’re not down the street / You're three thousand miles so teleport to me" and "Something's weird, I’ve been running on empty / Sick since you left me / It eats me alive like a million diseases / I’m torn into pieces" could be off-putting for would-be listeners. However, twelve songs and thirty-three minutes of infectious choruses and one-liners such as "HE SAID 'I MISS YOU SO MUCH!'" that are just begging to be screamed out at a live show are what the pop punk train needs to keep the momentum going, and it's how Man Overboard offset most of the problems the cheesy lyrics present you.

Your love for "Man Overboard" will ultimately depend on how much you love pop punk. If you love the genre you will love this; if you like the genre you will find plenty of replay-value here; if you hate the genre, this will never change your mind. This review is going to end on a word about the album's closing song, "Atlas". It is, quite probably, the best song the band have written - but not because it's just damn catchy or because it's the only song that doesn't focus on girls. It signals the end of Man Overboard writing about girls and girls that do drugs, and instead focusing more on the insecurities of growing up. As well as alluding to Man Overboard being a band who can grow out of themselves in the future, it justifies why they've so far spent so much time dedicated to writing anthems for the heart-aching adolescent: "I just don't feel like a grown up, yet".

Download: Rare, Not The First, Spunn, Picture Perfect, Atlas
For The Fans of: New Found Glory, Fireworks, This Time Next Year, Transit
Listen: Album stream @ Lost Tape Store

Release Date 27.09.2011
Rise Records

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