“You can’t break through if you stay in place!” sings vocalist Ben Barlow on opening track ‘Citizens of Earth’ and it seems to be a mentality adopted by Neck Deep on their sophomore record ‘Life’s Not Out To Get To You’. Working with Jeremy McKinnon and Tom Denney (of A Day To Remember fame) and Andrew Wade, the band sound bigger, better and like an outfit that are ready to take over the world.
A self-styled “generic” pop-punk band, the five piece explore the clichés associated with the genre, from self-depreciating home town pride of ‘Can’t Kick Up The Roots’ to standout track ‘Gold Steps’, exploring the “what you give is what you get” pop-punk outlook. With their roots in pop-punk influences, a few listens reveals subtle nods to old-school pop-punk heavyweights like New found Glory and Sum 41, but this is a new generation of pop-punk, and Neck Deep are at the forefront of it.
‘Lime St.’ is a song that competes with ‘The Beach Is For Lovers (Not Lonely Losers)’ to be the song of the summer – the truth is, every song on this record is well-crafted, lyrically and musically solid, and the record as a whole is a joy to listen to. A contender for album of the year, for sure.
‘December’ is a song that showcases the softer side to Ben Barlow’s vocals, which are more controlled and stronger on this record; he’s coming into his own as a vocalist and a frontman, and it’s a song that strikes a chord on record and is sure to incite a deafening singalong live. With huge singalong choruses, uplifting vibes and a devastatingly melodic sound, the Wrexham quintet have outdone themselves – where ‘Wishful Thinking’ established them as a pop-punk force to be reckoned with, ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’ is a record that will make people sit up, listen and fittingly label them one of the best pop-punk bands in the world today.
– Iqra Choudhry
Venue: Life’s Not Out To Get You
Support Band: Hopeless Records