Release Date: Apr 28, 2017
Record label: Hopeless Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Punk-Pop
ROCKS LIKE: All Time Low, State Champs, Waterparks WHAT'S DIFFERENT: NFG's ninth LP is a decidedly more robust affair than 2014's Resurrection. Rhythm guitar makes a reappearance after a brief, one-album departure, and the sound is rounded out even more with an abundance of '80s-leaning keyboards, which make songs like "Blurred Vision," "Cheapest Thrill" and "Call Me Anti-Social" feel like the band hosted a John Hughes movie marathon in the studio. Plus, "The Sound Of Two Voices" is a Jamaican dancehall-inspired number that (shockingly) sorta works.
Twenty years into their career, New Found Glory maintain their energy and playfulness on their ninth set, Makes Me Sick. The Florida quartet packs harmony upon melody, forgoing much of the crunch from 2014's Resurrection: Ascension. Instead, Makes Me Sick is a peppy romp through pop-punk. There's a lot of nostalgic fuzzies here, despite fresh sounds and ideas like the tropical calypso moment on "The Sound of Two Voices." Jordan Pundik and the gang employ '80s synths atop the typical NFG pogo-punk sound, which brightens the album.
To the inattentive ear, the only change New Found Glory have ever made to their pop punk sound was 2006's punk-ditching Coming Home, which found pianos, strings and a more rock influence throughout. Though that may be their most drastic, those dialled in will find a band who increasingly avoid making the same album twice, be it their return to easycore with that album's followup Not Without a Fight or its successor, the more radio-friendly Radiosurgery. With the departure of longtime guitarist Steve Klein, 2014's Resurrection saw the streamlined band giving a fresh take on hardcore-lite pop punk, almost as if to prove they've still got it, besting their aforementioned easycore revival in the process.
Pop-punk's not dead. 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'.
The last New Found Glory record surprised me. My expectations weren't that high and I enjoyed most of it. Now, this is a band I listened to a lot in high school and one I'll always give a fair shot; and the benefit of the doubt. Sadly, as much as Resurrection tried to bring them back a couple years ago, Makes Me Sick is an aptly-titled album that tries to kill their movement. Simple Plan, Bouncing Souls and Bayside are bands I thought would have tanked on their last couple records and they didn't.