Neck Deep can’t kick up the roots on new back-to-basics album

Despite spearheading the 2010s pop punk revival, Neck Deep fell flat with their 2020 effort, All Distortions Are Intentional. The record saw the band experiment with a relaxed, fuzzed-out sound coupled with a higher concept that tied together lyrical themes. What resulted sounded completely disparate to 2017’s The Peace and the Panic, prompting a resounding thumbs down from long-time fans.

However, the Welsh outfit return to their roots in spectacular fashion on their new self-titled album. Their finest record since fan-favourite (and modern pop punk classic) Life’s Not Out To Get You, Neck Deep is brimming with catchy choruses and riffs that will prompt a smile from even the most ardent of pop punk haters.

This is a no-nonsense record, kicking off with “Dumbstruck Dumbf***” — a song that will surely find itself comfortably at-home in upcoming setlists. Featuring crunchy major-key riffs, angsty lyrics, and stellar production from bassist Seb Barlow and mix engineer Sam Guaiana, this is arguably one of the catchiest tracks the band has released in the past decade.

More from the Author: Sound Design as Music: How Mick Gordon Embodies the Modern Music Producer

Swiftly moving on to “Sort Yourself Out“, there’s no time to dwell on how great of an opening track you’ve just heard. New drummer Matt Powles slots perfectly into the band and lends some driving punk beats to this track. This should instantly ease the concerns of any fans still nervous following the departure of longtime member Dani Washington. This track also sees some of the wittiest lyrics on the record, serving as a real throwback to the sonic palette of the band’s debut, Wishful Thinking. It’s a real highlight on an album already full of gems.

Singles “We Need More Bricks and “Heartbreak of the Century are excellent. The latter benefits from a post-release remix that only improves an already great track. Neck Deep really struck gold here. These are true stadium-ready tracks that will surely become smash hits on rock radio and (especially) live.

Deep cuts “This Is All My Fault“, “They Might Not Mean To (But They Do),” and closing track “Moody Weirdo” see singer Ben Barlow penning some of his signature reflective lyrics that will no doubt spawn countless tattoos and Tumblr posts. They feel extremely heartfelt, sandwiching pop-punk bangers with some downtempo material to break up the pacing of the album.

Neck Deep certainly doesn’t mess with the classic pop-punk formula like All Distortions Are Intentional. But why should it have to when it executes that formula to near perfection? With this record, Neck Deep are poised to dominate the pop punk genre far into the foreseeable future — not least with their largest show to date taking place at Alexandra Palace this March.

Pop punk is in safe hands.

Scroll to top