|20 years into their career and just in time for your summer playlists, noughties pop-punk veterans New Found Glory are back with latest record Makes Me Sick and this time they’ve added just a pinch of new-wave fizz to their much-aped formula. 2014’s Resurrection peeled back layers in favour of a more back-to-basic approach (after the departure of guitarist Steve Klein) and Makes Me Sick changes things up again without stepping too far outside of the band’s sound.
Producer Aaron Sprinkle (Relient K, MxPx, Anberlin) gives the record a familiar yet slightly more muscular sound than the rawer Resurrection and has certain helped the band fill the gaps that Steve Klein’s exit left. This is displayed on tracks like opener Your Jokes Aren’t Funny and latest single Party on Apocalypse, a track that despite it’s slightly tired lyrical tirade against the modern age, rocks as hard as anything the band have released.
It’s surprising that for a band two decades in, New Found Glory have managed to keep things fresh with almost every release, maintaining their status in a genre which seems to constantly resurrect itself. The last true reinvention of the band’s sound however was 2006’s Coming Home, which traded in bouncy pop punk for a more mature piano-led approach. On Makes Me Sick, they make the trade once more, with new-wave synths providing a concrete foundation for tracks like first single Happy Being Miserable and even taking centre stage on the punchy Call Me Anti-Social.
While Makes Me Sick provides some memorable moments and even a couple of potential live-staples, like it’s predecessor, there is nothing here quite the calibre of the band’s pre-2014 output – 2011’s Radiosurgery being the band’s last truly solid album. There are instances of uncharted territory for the NFG boys though ; the calypso-vibes of The Sound Of Two Voices and the twin-guitar and keyboard attack of Barbed Wire keeping things interesting but it’s the throwaway likes of Blurred Vision and the forgettable Short and Sweet which hold the album back from being a true standout.
Although Makes Me Sick doesn’t quite hold up against the band’s now-classic back catalogue, it still comes as a welcome shot of vibrant pop punk, ready to be blared from the car stereo this summertime.
Makes Me Sick is out now via Hopeless Records