Neck Deep

Wishful Thinking

Written by: LF on 31/01/2014 20:29:54

As UK pop punk crew Neck Deep was tipped as the breakthrough band for 2014 by Reader's Polls in both Kerrang and Alternative Press magazines, it can be no surprise that their debut release was something a lot of people were looking forward to. "Wishful Thinking" came out in the middle of January and as I usually spend my time being a busy university student, this timing coupled with my love of pop punk really made it inevitable that it would become the soundtrack to all my late-night exam writing of the month. While that might initially sound like an unfortunate circumstance for the album, the fact that it not only helped me through those hectic and stressed out nights but that it also, despite the not-so-fun associations, still hasn't lost its appeal to me here on the other side, really says something about its quality.

If anything this is a pop punk record that can take your mind off things for a while with its relentless tempo and energy. This coupled with the happy-go-lucky lyrics spiced up with equal parts melancholy, spite and longing has the ability to dreamily transport you to a naive time in your life when everything seemed simpler. Cue the lyrics of the very first song "Losing Teeth" which starts the album out on a high note by ending with a classic "woa-oh" sing-a-long: "Though we complained about it / All was such a worthwhile waste of my time / Each day and each night a memory / Take care and please don't forget me".

Initially I didn't feel like giving this album the grade I have now settled on because everything about it, right from the lyrics to the aggressive but still dreamy riffs, the fast-paced drumming, and the vitality it gives off, feels like almost overused elements in a genre where there's far between bands that are able to stand out with their own personal sound. Despite this Neck Deep does pull it off exceptionally well and even after endless hours of replay the album continually blows me away and I can't find one boring song on it. There are insanely sticky hooks in most of them, my favorites being "Zoltar Speaks", "Sweet Nothings", and "What Did You Expect?", all in the faster and more aggressive lyrical end of the spectrum. Just singling these three out feels unfair to "Crushing Grief (No Remedy)", "Mileage", the more optimistic "Growing Pains", and well, every other song of the album really.

After a year of jamming The Story So Far's amazing debut "Under Soil And Dirt" almost every week, I might have found if not a replacement then at least a faster and slightly more cheery supplement. Despite the textbook approach to this entire album it's an incredible effort. "Wishful Thinking" has been a wonderful soundtrack for all shades of troubled or melancholic moods in this cold and windy January but it could probably work its magic just as well as background for silly escapades in summer, and I would recommend it to anyone who's remotely into pop punk.


Download: Zoltar Speaks, Crushing Grief (No Remedy), What Did You Expect?, Sweet Nothings
For The Fans Of: City Lights, Me Vs Hero, The Story So Far

Release Date 14.01.2014
Hopeless Records

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