For Fans Of
Often an album comes along and exceeds your expectations and it becomes the only thing that you listen to for weeks. For me, Man Overboard have achieved this with their stunning debut album “Real Talk”. One of the most active bands in the pop punk genre today, Man Overboard have five releases under their belt in the last 12 months alone, each one continually marking an improvement for the band.
From the opening drum beat in the album’s title track, to the final chord of the closing track “Sidekick”, Man Overboard have produced a practically flawless pop punk record, which is sure to have you hooked from the first listen. I have listened to this album almost religiously since it was released and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet, and I can’t see that changing any time soon.
The opening title track presents the band’s new refined sound, which sounds very natural for the band. The band’s dual vocalists Nik Bruzzese and Zac Eisenstein sound better than ever, something that has been improving with each release. The following track “World Favourite” is a slower, more heartfelt effort than the previous track, highlighting that the band’s ability to write a catchy hook has improved out of sight since the release of their “Dahlia” EP. The first single from the album “Fantasy Girl” will certainly get likened to some of the newer Taking Back Sunday efforts, and after the hearing the chorus it will be obvious why the band chose to release this as the single from the record.
“Parting Gift” will be an album highlight for those who still cherish the early 2000’s pop punk sound, with the song’s bridge sounding like it could’ve been on Taking Back Sunday’s fantastic Tell All Your Friends record. If you don’t feel like singing along to the lines “I wrote you down a letter before I went to sleep / It held all the secrets I could no longer keep / I held them in for so long I was going to break / But maybe now I can rest and you can lie awake” then I suggest you look elsewhere, because this is a band who knows how to get songs stuck in your head.
The double attack of “Darkness, Everybody” and “She’s Got Her Own Man Now” are two of the more commercially accessible tracks on the record, both of which could easily gain heavy ratio airplay without much trouble. The fast paced “Al Sharpton” is my personal favourite track on the record; I think I have listened to this song just about every day since I got my hands on a copy of this record. The dual vocals between Bruzzese and Eisenstein are superb; the vocal chemistry between the two is a definite strength for the band. The main line of the chorus “I pretend that I’m already someone, and all my problems faded away” is one of the catchiest parts of the record.
Re-recorded from their “Dahlia” EP, “Montrose” doesn’t have any major differences besides the slightly higher quality recording. Although to be fair the track was fantastic to begin with, so the band didn’t need to do much tweaking with it. If you are going to listen to this band for the first time, I would recommend that you start with this track. The song has a perfect structure and it is very easily accessible. “FM Dial Style” throws out a bit of a Weezer vibe, and originally this was the only song I didn’t like on the record. After a few spins I have come around, the song’s chorus has some very impressive hooks.
Rounding out the album is the power trio of “I Like You”, “Septemberism” and “Sidekick”, while they all sound different; they all combine to send the album out on a high. “I Like You” is another one of the upbeat and enjoyable tracks, which creates a good contrast with “Septemberism”. A demo version of the song was featured on the Run For Cover 2010 Spring Sampler, but the final version of the track is leagues ahead of the demo. The song is easily angriest track on the record, with both Bruzzesse and Eisenstein combining to belt out the line “I hate you, you should have picked up the phone tonight.” “Sidekick” is an acoustic based, sing-a-long inspiring number that sends the album out on a happy note.
Lyrically the album is based around four different girls. After a few listens it becomes quite clear that this record will be very easy for people to relate to, allowing the band to create a strong bond between themselves and their fans. While the lyrics may not be anything extraordinary, they are super effective.
I said in February that I doubt I was going to hear a better pop punk album released in 2010 than The Wonder Year’s “The Upsides”, but “Real Talk” has managed to steal that crown quite convincingly. This record is good enough to be a landmark album for the genre, one that will be considered as essential listening in the years to come. Expect to see the name Man Overboard popping up more frequently in the future. Real talk.
1. Real Talk
2. World Favourite
3. Fantasy Girl
4. Parting Gift
5. Darkness, Everybody
6. She’s Got Her Own Man Now
7. Al Sharpton
9. FM Dial Style
10. I Like You