Man Overboard – Man Overboard


Artist

Album

Man Overboard

Label

Rise Records

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

The Early November - New Found Glory - Saves The Day

Summary

A catchy, well-written and entertaining collection of tried and tested formulas.

Rating

80 / 100

Man Overboard aren’t so much a band as they are a cultural phenomenon at this point, with their ‘Defend Pop Punk’ motto unifying the scene into a worldwide renaissance. The New Jersey quintet has been propelled to the front lines of the genre on the back of several widely-acclaimed EP releases and their outstanding debut album ‘Real Talk’, and a catalogue as impeccable as theirs leaves a lot to live up to. On their self-titled sophomore release, Man Overboard continues their tried and tested formula of duelling vocals and hook-laden melodies, set against a template of strong, catchy instrumentation that will keep most fans of pop punk engaged with this album.

Stylistically, Man Overboard has always been a band that conveys a modern pop punk aesthetic in the purest sense, largely avoiding the melodic hardcore influences and rawer edge of peers like Such Gold in favour of a sound that is clean and highly accessible. At the same time, the band’s firm grasping of the musicality of veteran pop punkers and even certain elements of classic emo bands like The Promise Ring prevents the album from sounding excessively commercial. This is helped greatly by the album’s skilled production, helmed by New Found Glory rhythm guitarist Steve Klein. Klein plays to the band’s strengths, highlighting the exhilarating, punk-enthused vibe of tracks like Rare and Something’s Weird’ with loud, overdriven guitars, whilst still allowing the band’s melodic sensibilities to be the album’s overarching force.

The band’s trademark spin on the familiar elements of modern pop punk comes out in full force on Man Overboard’, with the dynamic between dual vocalists Nik Bruzzese and Zac Eiestenstein proving again to be the band’s most distinguishing characteristic. Bruzzesse and Eistenstein are both accomplished singers who have a strong sense of melody, frequently juxtaposing a lower-register line with soaring, powerful choruses that punctuate strongest on standout tracks like Punishment’ and Spunn’. The vocals are littered with the band’s signature one-sentence punchlines and hooks that assault the listener with impassioned emotionality, and while rarely poetic, the lyrics are always honest and highly relatable, with brief glimpses of intense poignancy like on closing track ‘Atlas’. The album’s highlight is the interplay between Bruzzese and Eistenstein, whose utilisation of captivating harmonies and call-and-response vocal techniques gives tracks like Headstone’ considerable melodic depth, anchored by crooning “woah-ohs” and repeated lower-octave lines.

The songwriting and instrumentation on the album doesn’t do much to differentiate from the formulas that the band laid out and cemented with ‘Hung Up On Nothing’ and polished to a mirror shine with ‘Real Talk’. Fans of the band that arrive expecting some degree of experimentation will be disappointed by the lack of progression the band has made on this album, and this detracts from the overall listening experience. However, the band is still impeccable at crafting varied, dynamic and catchy pop punk songs and hone their skills wonderfully on the album. The tracks are heavily chord-based, but display occasional moments of catchy, hook-driven instrumentation, like the clean-cut riffs on ‘Spunn’ and ‘Punishment’. The album also paces itself well, balancing fast-paced, breakneck and high-energy songs like Rare’ and Something’s Weird’ with a slower, tender side that shines through strongest on ‘Dead End Dreams and Atlas’, keeping the album varied and musically entertaining.

Conclusion

On their sophomore album, Man Overboard doesn’t try to reinvent themselves and continues with the same musical ideas that brought them to the forefront of the pop punk scene in the first place. The album makes up for its lack of progression with a powerhouse of hook-driven, duelling vocal melodies, hard-hitting punchlines and consistently strong, well-paced songwriting that will engage most fans of the genre.

Tracklisting

1. Rare
2. Teleport
3. Voted Most Likely
4. Dead End Dreams
5. Somethings Weird
6. Punishment
7. Not The First
8. Headstone
9. Spunn
10. Picture Perfect
11. Night Feelings
12. Atlas

3 Responses to “Man Overboard – Man Overboard”

  1. joshtraceur

    True dat.
    Not disappointed at all though. The first time I heard it I was in the car with a pure metal-head, and didn’t entirely enjoy it as I could tell it wasn’t “Br00tal” enough for him. But by the second listen (alone) I was very pleased with it. My favorite track being Atlas.

  2. iMarcus

    bit of role reversal this year for man overboard and transit. Man overboard had the better first album, while transit have the much better sophomore album.

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