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4th February 2014

Album: Neck Deep – Wishful Thinking

The raw emotion and honesty bleeding from this record breathes contemporary life into a seemingly dormant genre

Released January 14th 2014

Hopeless Records


When alternative legends New Found Glory played Leeds Festival in 2013, their backdrop on stage read ‘‘Pop-Punk’s not dead.’’ The debut release from U.K. (yes U.K.!) outfit Neck Deep lets these words ring true. Granted, the pop-punk scene is strongly linked to the late 90’s and bad haircuts, but the raw emotion and honesty bleeding from this record breathes contemporary life into a seemingly dormant genre.

The record opens with ‘Losing Teeth’ which lyrically deals with the trials of growing up, with a sound that yells “we aren’t just any band, we’re Neck Deep.” The song has a very angst ridden aura where front man Ben Barlow delivers lines such as “Give a fuck if we don’t fit in, we don’t need them, they don’t know a thing about us.” This cracker should give the crowd a reason to get off their feet and for those hearing the song at home, lyrics with which to identify with.

Wishful Thinking maintains its thunderous momentum with lead single ‘Crushing Grief (No Remedy)’ which went on to become a video made by the fans which showed short, homemade clips of Neck Deep unit fans doing what made them happy. Certainly the song deals with relationship difficulties and the heartache pop-punk lyrics are renowned for, but the fast paced and upbeat guitar tones create a positive essence. Following this is the album’s high point ‘Staircase Wit’ which delivers the typical Neck Deep formula, but with extra wow-factor. The lyrics in this song display just what Neck Deep are capable of and display Barlow as a true poet and down to earth chap “Don’t judge me on my bad habits, I could pick out every flaw of yours, unearth all your imperfections beneath the surface I have seen, the ugly truth behind the beauty queen.”

‘Staircase Wit’ might be the peak, but the album doesn’t go downhill by any means. The mid-section of Wishful Thinking contains some infectious riffs and sing-along worthy chorus’s as well as the second single ‘Growing Pains’ which could brighten the day of even the grumpiest of grumpy gits.

The back end of Wishful Thinking pales slightly in comparison to the preceding bangers. The minute long track ‘Say What You Want’ doesn’t really bring much to the overall package, but is a salute to the aggressive element seen in their debut E.P. Rain In July. There is also a re-recorded version of a song from the same E.P. This does nothing for the record really, but may be a pleasant surprise for hardcore ND fans. The album closes with ‘Candour’ – a heartfelt ballad which demonstrates Ben’s vocal diversity, the lyrical content is open to interpretation but is clearly very personal.

In conclusion, Wishful Thinking is by no means a perfect record, but what defines perfect? Wishful Thinking is a fantastic milestone for the band to build upon, and it wouldn’t be a longshot to state that this is an album people can grow up to.

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