Twenty years. In the time that New Found Glory have been together, entire scenes have peaked and imploded, careers have flown by, and pop-punk has been declared dead (and then not dead, then dead again, then…) more times that anyone could count. Yet the Floridian trailblazers are still going strong and exploring new ground.
In contrast to 2014’s back-to-basics ‘Resurrection’, this ninth collection is full of curveballs and endearing quirks, whether that’s the bouncy calypso rhythms of ‘The Sound Of Two Voices’ (seriously) or the sugary pop-rock misanthropy of ‘Call Me Anti-Social’. From razor-tongued opener ‘Your Jokes Aren’t Funny’ onwards this is a sometimes thrilling, occasionally frustrating mixed bag; with synths and swaggering, classic rock-style guitar solos brought to the fore, and the sun-drenched pop-punk vibes a little more muted than we’ve come to expect.
There are certainly big songs here – the caustic ‘Party On Apocalypse’ dripping in sarcasm as well as summery melody – but other cuts like ‘Say It Don’t Spray It’ and ‘The Cheapest Thrill’ are more… pleasant than memorable.
Though ‘Makes Me Sick’ is still a fun listen – complete with some brilliant lyrical put-downs, genuinely touching moments and echoes of past glories – it doesn’t quite capture NFG at their life-affirming best.