Neck Deep

Life's Not Out To Get You

Written by: MAK on 31/08/2015 22:23:12

Neck Deep have recently been the talking point for all the wrong reasons with controversy surrounding guitarist Lloyd Roberts, though we should not let this negativity overshadow the fact the now 4-piece has just released one of the most anticipated pop-punk albums of the year. Due to this controversy Lloyd has since left the band, but he did feature on “Life’s Not Out To Get You”.

Opening track “Citizens Of Earth” kicks off heavier than I expected it to with guitars providing what sounds more like heavy rock riffs than what is considered to be quite pop-punk. The riff’s melody and chord progressions are also very similar to American Hi-Fi’s 2001 hit “Flavor Of The Week”, though as soon as the vocals kick in you get a completely different vibe. “Citizens Of Earth” is punchier than anything I’ve heard from Neck Deep before, a lot more aggressive musically and you can feel the angst in Ben Barlow’s sort of shouts. Already the album kicks off with a catchy hit for crowds to instantly dig and rock out to.

Follow-up song “Threat Level Midnight” delivers an atmosphere more like what I’ve come to expect from the Wrexham punks. Joyful melodies, bouncy beats, catchy hooks and Barlow’s more recognisable pop-punk whine are the backbone that seems for fitting, and this sounds more like the Neck Deep that taken the pop-punk scene by storm in recent years. The majority of the album follows this simple yet effective formula, using songs like “Can’t Kick Up The Roots” and “Lime St” as just a couple out of many examples to choose. Most of the songs on “Life’s Not Out To Get You” provide listeners with something quite uplifting musically and something about the ups and downs of growing up topically, though of course there has to be the token acoustic number in “December” to appease the fans with softer tastes.

Generally pop-punk has been partnered well with summer for the best part of the last two decades, meaning the release of “Life’s Not Out To Get You” was definitely perfectly timed for summer parties and festival season. This album see’s growth from Neck Deep in sense of production and names involved as A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon provides his talents in helping Neck Deep’s songwriting whilst also lending his vocals on “Kali Ma”. Andrew Wade who has also lent a hand in a lot of McKinnon’s producing projects in the past has provided his recording and mixing talents for “Life’s Not Out To Get You.

Neck Deep continue to push forward as possibly the UK’s best pop punk going at the moment, especially in popularity. “Life’s Not Out To Get You” just matches that push forward in a sense that Neck Deep are setting an example for the likes of Roam, As It Is and many more to follow. I still find that the style of pop-punk Neck Deep provide is rather generic in places, and very Four Year Strong-ish just like most of their previous releases, though there are reminders of early 2000’s influences as sparks of New Found Glory and Sum 41 are emulated at times, especially in “Lime St”. For possibly the catchiest and most uplifting album in modern pop-punk, “life’s Not Out To Get You” is a must listen for any pop-punk fan.


Download: Threat Level Midnight, I Hope This Comes Back To Haunt You, Lime St
For The Fans Of: New Found Glory, Four Year Strong, Roam, A Day To Rememember, As It Is

Release date 14.08.2015
Hopeless Records

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