Album Review: Man Overboard – Man Overboard
New Jersey pop punkers Man Overboard have been on the rise for about two years now but it took their stint on the Rock Sound Impericon Tour in April and the release of their self-titled in September to really launch their name in the UK. Mixing a blend of emotional lyrics with fast upbeat pop punk backing, Man Overboard has been drawing fans in the thousands and are responsible for the sudden revival of the genre.
Album opener Rare shows that some tweaking of their sound has taken place between the release of ’09’s Real Talk and the release of their self-titled. The track leans a lot more on the pop punk sound with speedy snare smashing, the vocals being spoken very fast making them incoherent and the chorus is a standard pop punk sing along. Dead End Dreams feels like familiar ground. “I’ve got nothing to show for these dead end dreams, my heart will ache again it seems” the word play is very Man Overboard and the acoustic intro/chant along bridge will have the bands long-time fans smirking at the familiarity. Lead single Something’s Weird borrows elements from current scene leaders The Wonder Years and Fireworks. The riffs and drums are aggressive with the vocals being bouncy without being Blink 182 whilst emotional but without being miserable, something The Wonder Years are well known for.
Picture Perfect has a brilliant 90’s rock sound to the intro. Once the bass and drums join up, elements of early emo (I mean proper, old fashioned pop punkish emo not My Chemical Romance) become more apparent. The inflection that guitarist/singer Zac Eisenstein puts on the vocals is a key element to Man Overboard’s sound and again the fans will be doing little knowing nods to these parts. Night Feelings actually does sound a little like a Blink 182 track at first. The riffs are a little dumb, and the vocals almost sound like Blink. “I felt I just can’t wait to let myself down again, just raise your guard and keep your heart”. Atlas is a track about wondering how your neighbours can be so normal when you’re so odd, again something that most can relate too. The vocals are solo at first until a few muted strings are strummed. The involvement of the instruments bring a new ferocity to the track with Eisenstein screaming “I don’t feel like a grown up yet”. Many of those finding it difficult to deal with growing up will enjoy the message of this track more than the younger crowds.
To be honest you could listen to Real Talk and this album back to back and not notice much of a difference. The nuts and bolts have been tightened and polished leading to an improved overall sound but there’s not real been much progress in terms of sound. I give the album 8 out of 10. It’s a brilliant album full of emotional highs and lows, brilliant pop punk sentiment and riffage which will have any music fan tapping and snapping along.