April 9, 2009

Test Spin: New Found Glory

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With 2006’s fan-disappointing Coming Home, Florida pop-punk upstarts New Found Glory made the assumption that “mature” music automatically meant slow and weepy.
Fast forward to 2009’s Not Without a Fight and its lead single “Listen to Your Friends,” and it’s an obvious, pleasant return to NFG’s style of summery melodies over buzz-saw guitars — perhaps the band’s catchiest in years. What’s more, the band has rekindled their hardcore influence from guitarist Chad Gilbert, an ex-member of genre legends Shai Hulud, a trend last seen on 2004’s Catalyst and sadly dropped on Coming Home. Drummer Cyrus Bolooki throws in some neat time changes and occasional double bass drums, and Gilbert provides shouts to accent Jordan Pundik’s melodic pop-punk vocals, which have thankfully decreased in nasality over time.
Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus produces this time around, and his hand is heard in songs like “Truck Stop Blues,” while Gilbert’s is apparent in the chunky angular riffs of “47.”
On their newest release, New Found Glory has gone from potentially interesting lyrical territory to twelve straight songs about breakups, but at least they’re fiercely up-tempo and effortlessly catchy. The absence of weepiness, replaced by newfound (ha-ha!) energy forgives the one-dimensional topics, which are inventively-written despite the triteness.
It’s great when bands apologize.