By Francesco Albanese
*Cue flashback* it's around the year 2000 and high school is just a drag. Teachers, significant others, and papers galore. You're walking home and you decide to pop in one of your favorite records into that sweet portable CD player you always carry around. What comes through the headphones? Probably Blink-182's Enema of the State or maybe New Found Glory's self-titled record (or if you're feeling particularly cheeky maybe NSYNC's No Strings Attached.)
Now picture yourself there, and imagine Neck Deep's The Peace and the Panic; you'd be hard pressed to imagine that it simply doesn't belong. Well friends, that's the beauty that is Neck Deep's third album; a meld of the classic pop-punk genre with modern elements of what the genre has to offer for today's audiences.
Looking on the album as a whole, the title isn't just the title here, but serves as provided functionality on to how to listen to the album track by track. There's a clear divide in tones between tracks on the record. One track will fill you with emotion and glee, while the next will exude manic and chaotic tantrums of moshing delight. For example, track five, "In Bloom" captures joy similar to jumping around in a colorful bouncy castle, while the preceding track, "Don't Wait" is the punk anthem that will have you breaking down the walls of the establishment in the traditional punk fashion, which is fueled by the screams of The Architect's Sam Carter assisting in the demolition of said establishment.
Now with The Peace and the Panic comes many different thoughts someone would have every day; messages to loved ones, significant others and family members, on tracks like "Wish You Were Here" and "Where Do We Go When We Go." Messages of tearing down the establishment and warnings to be careful not to believe everything you hear ("Happy Judgement Day," "Don't Wait") make this record something accessible to audiences old and new, and audiences of different genres; making this a refreshing reminder that "pop-punk's not dead."
This sentiment is especially evident in the opening track "Motion Sickness" where the musicianship of each band member piles into the front seat and drives. Vocalist Ben Barlow continuously impresses with his voice that embodies the genre; guitarists Matt West and Sam Bowden show off their skills in every track, which can usually get lost when it comes to the kind of sound, which is also where Bassist Fil Thorpe-Evans shines, proving that there can be complex bass tracks in pop-punk. Then last but not least, the drums provided by Dani Washington, are nothing short of professional, evident in the many opportunities he took in each fill.
From the sounds of nostalgic bliss of years gone past, to modern sentiments embedded in each song, this record delivers. In their own fashion, the band keeps the pioneers of the genre in reverence, but offers a modern hint of personal flair that makes them stand out today.
The Peace and the Panic is out August 18th and can be pre-ordered by visiting the link here and tickets for their upcoming The Peace and the Panic USA Tour kicking off in early 2018 can be purchased here.
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