New Jersey emotional pop punkers Man Overboard drop the acoustic exclusive sound they’ve always worked with and finally embrace electric instruments to create fantastic results. Man Overboard’s previous EP Noise From Upstairs was entirely acoustic and whilst being an upbeat pop punk/emo crossover it left me and other fans itching for a full length electric instruments album. Fortunately this delivers these elements without compromising on the heartfelt upbeat music.
Title track Real Talk instantly kicks in with that happy pop punk sound that’s so appealing to fans of the genre. The track deals with trying to be friends with people who are too different to you. Bassist Nik Bruzzese shares vocal duties with guitarist Zac Eisenstein in a very Blink 182 feeling vocal harmonies. Third track Fantasy Girl is again a very streotypical pop punk track about meeting the girl of your dreams. The guitar riffs are incredibly fast and complex. Lead guitarist Justin Collier proving why everyone sees him as the shape of pop punk riffs to come. Sixth track She’s Got Her Own Man Now is a slower, bass heavy track with emotional lyrics about messing up a relationship, realising you want the girl back and realising she’s better with her new man. It’s a sad track that litterally shines with redemption.
I had to check my iPod when the riff and snare drum begins on Al Sharpton. The speed of the track and the technique and simplicity of the riff feels like a New Found Glory single. It’s pure pop punk goodness. My personal favourite track on the album Monstrose is a brilliant song about a girl who has several different guys after her and lies to the singer about them. The lyrics “Do you take pictures off the wall? When you know I’m coming to your room, do you hide all the stuffed animals the other boys bought for you?” are sang upbeat but feel like a guy scorned and betrayed. Eleventh track Septembrism is about a girl the singer thought he had a connection with but the girl denies it. The track slows down as the lead singer sings about the night when he believed the connection was made then a breakdown (unusual for pop punk) the singer screams “I hate you, you should have picked up the phone tonight” conveys his disgust at her denial of their feelings for each other.
I give Real Talk a 8/10. It’s a love letter to Blink 182 era pop punk but with a heartfelt, modern, mature twist that those looking for fart jokes will hate but those looking for more substance to their pop punk will love. It’s layered and deep in substance unlike all the other bands of the genre. I would recommend this to those looking to get a foot in the door in terms of less conventional radio music. Check it out.
For fans of: The Wonder Years, Major League, Serious Blink 182 tracks
Listen to: Montrose, She’s Got Her Own Man Now, Septemberism