As they celebrate their 20th anniversary, it would be easy to consider New Found Glory as the godfathers of modern pop-punk. While their output in recent years has been hit and miss, they have firmly held on to their stylistic trait of writing bouncy pop-punk with infectious hooks.
Album number nine, ‘Makes Me Sick’, more or less does what you expect from a NFG album in 2017. Ten songs that come and go in the space of just 35 minutes, with a consistent undertone of familiarity carrying it through from start to finish.
The front loaded hat-trick of ‘Your Jokes Aren’t Funny’, ‘Party On Apocalypse’ and ‘Call Me Anti-Social’, quickly re-establish NFG’s familiar characteristics; Jordan Pundik’s distinctive vocals, Chad Gilbert’s springy guitar, and Cyrus Bolooki and Ian Grushka punching rhythm section coming together to create a satisfying trilogy.
Although NFG have never been a band to fully rely on their past glories, songs such as ‘Happy Being Miserable’ and ‘Blurred Vision’ wouldn’t sound out of place on 2004’s ‘Catalyst’ due to their use of carefree and playful keys.
While ‘Makes Me Sick’ is pleasing enough for casual fans, some diehards will be frustrated by the lack of variation. As you go deeper into the album, each song lacks an identity with only ‘The Sound of Two Voices’ veering away from the tried and trusted formula due to its tropical, laid back groove. By the time you reach ‘The Cheapest Thrill’, you begin to wonder whether the Floridian quartet are, dare I say it, “phoning it in”. The aforementioned number is especially forgettable.
New Found Glory clearly know their position in 2017; to deliver a handful of earworms for their 20th-anniversary tour that will sit nicely next to their stellar back catalogue of fan favourites. Progression isn’t an option, but would be welcomed down the line.
‘Makes Me Sick’ by New Found Glory is released on 28th April on Hopeless Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)