Review: New Found Glory – Makes Me Sick

New Found Glory is the second band I ever fell in love with. The thing about their albums is that you walk into them without expectations of biting social commentary, crazy departures of sound or veering artistic licenses. Their records are going to be fun, with the melodies stuck in your head after a single listen and the lyrics memorized on the second.

You can buy Makes Me Sick on iTunes.

Makes Me Sick is perhaps the second album to attempt breaking free of the standard mold. Coming Home, 2006’s oozing pop album was the first to make a departure to varying results. Makes Me Sick is much, much more successful in the attempt. Perhaps more surprising is how it retains the pop elements of the earliest New Found Glory albums just as much. The result is a record that pushes the band’s sound and writing through new experiments, but sounds like a particularly well-aged set of B-Sides off of Sticks and Stones.

Marking a perfect blend of Sticks and Stones era punk rock with Coming Home‘s alternative takes on songwriting (and synth!), this is an album that relies on and defies the legacy of pop punk that has come before it.

The songs are lavish and pop with a flare that sounds almost classical these days. With some alternative rock sounds and a better use of synth than on Coming Home, Chad Gilbert’s guitar work feels timeless. Focusing less in the easycore hard punk riffs of Resurrection, fleshed out rhythm guitar and solos relish in pop. Bassist Ian Grushka is allowed to carry the melody more than he was on the guitar-heavy Resurrection, which sets him apart from the uplifting synth. Drummer Cyrus Bolooki, yet again, absolutely crushes the kit with poppier beats that sound timeless to the band’s career.

The one song that truly stands apart is “Two Voices”, a Caribbean-style jam that sounds absolutely nothing like New Found Glory save for the vocals, but it doesn’t feel out of place when paired with Makes Me Sick as a whole. It’s the biggest leap stylistically the band have ever made, despite being a simple pop song.

Vocalist Jordan Pundik sounds eternally youthful, throwing some of his most inspired work in the last decade. While the lyrics aren’t gnawing at aspects of society, they are instantly memorable. Subtle jabs are thrown at youth culture run amuck, such as “Party On Apocalypse”, where Pundik sings, “This self-centered generation, taking pictures of themselves then changing features / Pleasing over critical creatures / Everyone’s got a cause but how strong is the foundation / Moving like the waves of the ocean / Do you care or just throw stones in?”

While the classic topic of relationships isn’t snubbed (“Barbed Wire”), “The Cheapest Thrill” is one of the most noteworthy songs on the album. A song about overcoming lust so as not to hurt others anymore, and finding self-respect in yourself and others, it stands out with more depth than the average New Found Glory song. The realization is a great passage, and one of the more heartfelt lines the band have penned, as Pundik sings, “Suddenly, I can see through my own eyes again / But I don’t like what I’m feeling / You can’t help your thoughts, but you can change your actions / If I don’t I’ll be consumed.”

I’ve listened to New Found Glory continuously for almost the entirety of their 20-year career, and even minor changes to their formula can sound drastic when compared to their discography. Makes Me Sick treads the fine line of not only finding a new charm to their signature pop, but they make it sound like an homage to their early work as well. Few bands get the chance to see 20 years, much less release an album that pays tribute to a genre they helped forge without being sickened by the sound of them.

4.5/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and fondly remembers that New Found Glory was the first album he ever bought on his own. He forced his friends to listen to it relentlessly until there was a NFG-loving army at his beck and call. He failed to conquer and rule Quebec with them.

Pop Punk Legends Yellowcard and New Found Glory Rock Concord Music Hall

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A New Found Glory show can only be measured in one way: how drenched in sweat you are when it’s over. If you’re dry, you never cared for their music in the first place.

There’s an energy in the air the entire show, no matter who goes on before, or even after. It’s one of the reasons that their legacy and career has endured the rise, fall and rebirth of pop punk. It’s something that seems to emit from the bands that grew from the early 2000’s, and one that only another band from that era can replicate.

Yellowcard is one of those bands, and one of the most engaging. After almost two decades, the kids who grew up on these bands have refused to give up on them; a full house at the Concord Music Hall in Chicago consisted of everyone between the ages of 18 and 35 ready to open a circle pit.  As Yellowcard’s Ryan Key himself said, “If we had done this same tour in 2003, it would have been magical. But it’s 2015, and you’re still here.”

It was the first time Yellowcard and New Found Glory have toured North America together in their careers. If the first of their two night stay in Chicago was any indication, fans have been waiting a long time for this team up. Before opening band Tigers Jaw even took the stage, the room was packed. The sleek interior of the theater spaced people out nicely while filling the center, the entire eclipsing balcony full of onlookers. When Tigers Jaw finally emerged, they had a nearly full house.

Tigers Jaw mesmerized the room, jamming to a somber indie sounding version of pop punk. Dual vocalists, Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh trading and sharing vocals held firm against the popping guitar and hypnotic keyboard. Being unfamiliar with the band, I had no idea what any of their songs were or which album they could have come from. But they were wonderful. Their music took me back to a simplified style of songwriting that still managed to hit every correct note that hooked you in and refused to let go. I could understand why they had been around so long as a band, and why so many people had arrived early to see them.

Though they never hit the high mark of energy or noise of the rest of the night, their relaxed and steady stage presence paved their own path. The biggest mistake bands that tour with behemoths like Yellowcard or NFG can make is to sound like a pale imitation of either one, which is a trap that Tigers Jaw never fell into.

Yellowcard

Yellowcard

Yellowcard took the middle spot, demolishing the room upon entry. Guitars blazing and violin ripping, they tore immediately into the early catalog from Ocean Avenue with songs “Way Away” and “Breathing”. Every major single was hit, from “Lights and Sounds” to “Always Summer” and yet another riotous performance of “Ocean Avenue” enveloped the crowd, encouraging violinist Sean Mackin to do a back flip mid-song early on. One of the highlights of their set included vocalist Ryan Key alone on stage playing the keyboard for a softer, intimate version of fan favorite “Empty Apartment”.

The biggest detriment to Yellowcard is their range in discography. Each album has its favorites, and no concert will ever be able to cover everything fans want to hear. Aside from the hits, the band focused on two albums specifically; Ocean Avenue and Lift a Sail. “Crash the Gates” and “Lift a Sail” sound much better and harder in person than they ever could on an album, and it breathes new life into a record that sounds unlike anything else the band has put out.

While the band themselves put on an amazing performance, of note is current drummer Tucker Rue, formerly of Thursday. Longineu W. Parsons III is a brilliant drummer (my personal favorite), and filling his shoes is no small feat. Obviously a veteran, Rue managed to engage and make missing Parsons not hurt quite as bad.

New Found Glory

New Found Glory

New Found Glory headlined the evening, opening with a scorching rendition of “Resurrection”. From there, it didn’t matter what they played; each song might as well have been their big hit. Fan favorite “Hit or Miss” jolted the crowd early (rather than be a closing song) and spurred multiple circle and mosh pits. “All Downhill From Here”, “Selfless” and “Vicious Love” with a guest appearance by Brianna from Tigers Jaw were a few of the highlights, but the energy never so much as wavered throughout the set.

The only thing that paused the band from jumping across the stage at any time was when they pointed to a fan in the front row named Brad and not only invited him on stage, but asked him to pick a song that wasn’t on their set list and sing it was Jordan. He chose “Second to Last” from the band’s self-titled album, prompting the crowd to chant “Brad! Brad! Brad!” and guitarist Chad Gilbert to momentarily throw quick glances at the rest of the band to make sure they all remembered how to play it before rampaging through the song as though it were their big single.

New Found Glory remains one of the few bands that have not only retained their fanbase the entirety of their career, they have also kept their core sound intact while making each release sound new and intimidating among a new generation of musicians inspired by and evolving off of NFG. Every song they play, regardless of which record, sounds just as important as any song that could have made them a radio phenomenon. The audience jumped as though they had seen the band a dozen times before, and would see them again a dozen more. One man held his young daughter up on his shoulders in the back for her to see, and although she couldn’t have been more than five years old, NFG was already shaping her to be a new generation raised on their music.

Pop punk is a scene meant to push its way into your life, and immediately leave to some degree. Whether that means that you outgrow the sound, or the bands you love dissolve after an album or two, its rare to see a group stay together for a 10-year reunion tour, much less two bands together and better than ever after almost 20. Yellowcard and New Found Glory have carved their way into legendary status within music. Both have evolved with a generation of music that they helped shape and mold, and remain at the forefront.

I only managed to see the first of a two night headlining gig in Chicago, allegedly with different songs played each night for New Found Glory. But the fact that these bands can manage two nights worth of shows for fanatic listeners means something. Thankfully, it seems like they’re here to stay.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and New Found Glory was his first major band. Long live NFG!

Review: New Found Glory – Resurrection

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During Chicago’s Riot Fest, Chad Gilbert took the mic midway through their set to address the frenzied crowd in the brief pause between moshing and jumping. He talked briefly about how the last year has been the worst they’ve ever been through and described it as hitting their absolute “rock bottom” as a group. It’s true; it’s been a rough year to love New Found Glory.

The departure of founding member Steve Klein from the band came as a shock, but not as much as the news of the charges against him and the brewing talk by fans on forums about the rest of the band. Without the second guitar, their sound wouldn’t be as full and the shadow looming over the neigh untouchable group disappeared slowly with the enormous gap that they put between themselves and Klein.

Resurrection isn’t just another NFG album, nor just a punk sounding title. It’s a full rebirth for a band that found themselves as low as they’d ever been, and that’s coming just a few years after writing an album (Not Without A Fight) dealing with the divorces the various members had gone through. Resurrection is true to its name; it’s a full rebirth for New Found Glory with a renewed sense of urgency and anger. The guitar is heavier, the bass is louder and the lyrics are absolutely brutal.

The songs aren’t exclusively about girls like they used to be, but this is New Found Glory at their finest, delivering the best album since Sticks and Stones. The pop is lighter, the punk is harsher and, despite the similar easycore grind, each song remains memorable. It’s the type of punk that the band has been attempting to achieve ever since the Tip of the Iceberg EP and true to the legacy that allowed them to make a near perfect Ramones Cover EP (Mania). Even with the addition of more breakdowns, it sounds like authentic New Found Glory.

The most noticeable thing about Resurrection is that it’s incredibly harsher and stronger than any of their past releases, opting for punk songs with pop elements bleeding from the vocals as opposed to the instruments themselves. Gilbert, as the sole guitarist now, grinds out ferocious power chords in hypnotically catchy rhythms complete with scratches and the metallic vibrations of the strings. Ian Grushka’s bass is a rapid assault that traces the scales. The bass is much more noticeable than on past records with an authority and weight that gives a massive energy to the songs. As usual, Cyrus Bolooki’s drumming is top notch and the standard to which the rest of the pop punk genre adheres to.

Vocalist Jordan Pundik scales the range of his voice throughout the songs and delivers one incredibly chorus after the other. The most noticeable difference is that the lyrics are much more aggressive. The album starts with lead single “Selfless” in similar vein as fan favorite “Understatement” in that it’s a rapid assault anthem of self worth and the hope for strength.

With the absence of Klein as the lyricist, it almost sounds like the band took inspiration for the more personalized lyrics of new bands like The Wonder Years. It also sets the tone for the record with the daring proclamation during the bridge of, “No I’m not gonna settle anymore, no I’m not gonna hold my tongue / If you haven’t made enemies then you never stood for anything”.

Perhaps the most startling song on the record is “The Worst Person”. It is either a direct attack on Klein to clear their view on the entire situation involving him or someone in a very similar situation who did the band wrong. The song is fueled with the rage most likely responsible for the passion and fire that makes Resurrection so intriguing and powerful while maintaining a classic structure that almost sounds like it was torn from the track list of their Self-Titled.

The track also contains the most inflammatory lyrics of the band’s career as Jordan shouts, “You hid your life away, you didn’t want them to know you were hooking up with girls in Boston / You might be the worst person I’ve ever met, I’ve ever known / You keep doing all that shit you regret, end up alone”. It is single-handedly the most aggressive and personal lyrics the band has ever written.

The entire record is a challenge and an anthem of fighting back from the brink. “One More Round” rings with a raging chorus of “One more round, kick me when I’m down, but I already won when my name rolled off your tongue” against the crunch of the guitar.

Resurrection is a comeback album that no one knew was needed. Ironically enough, the worst thing to ever happen to the band may have been just the inspiration needed to knock them to the next. Their sound hadn’t evolved terribly much over the last fifteen years, but finally sounds mature and aggressively relevant. There’s no need to focus so much on love and girls when there is so much more that needs to be tackled.

4.5/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and might be slightly biased because NFG was the first band he discovered fifteen years ago. But that doesn’t matter because no one reads this lil’ bit anyway. Bwa hahahahaha!

New Found Glory appear set to release “Resurrection” on October 7

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According to a U.K. iTunes page, New Found Glory’s new album will be titled Resurrection and is set for release in the U.S. on October 7th. The album will be the band’s first release with new label Hopeless Records. You can check out the track list below:

Track List

1. Selfless
2. Resurrection
3. The Worst Person
4. Ready and Willing
5. One More Round
6. Vicious Love
7. Persistent
8. Stories of a Different Kind
9. Degenerate
10. Angel
11. Stubborn
12. Living Hell
13. On My Own

Posted by Kiel Hauck