Over their twelve years together as a band New Found Glory has pretty much encountered it all. They started at the beginning on a fledgling indie label just playing shows wherever they could and enjoying the fact that they got to play music. Then came the glory and the fame, the major label deal and the huge touring opportunities. This was ultimately followed by the fallout with a major label and a return to their roots in the independent music world, where they once again had complete artist control over their sound. It has been a tumultuous ride, but it is the ups and downs that have made New Found Glory who they are today.
Not Without a Fight is a fitting title given the road they have traveled, never giving up no matter what adversity they have had to overcome (also never settling with the fame they have achieved). Leading off with Right Where We Left Off, the five-piece provides perfect evidence as to why they wont be disappearing anytime soon. The songs powerful pogo-ing riffs and the infectious chorus is instantaneously stuck in your head and it will take days, perhaps weeks to shake them. Dont Let Her Pull You Down is equally as unforgettable, making sure to not only cause you to sing along, but also get you riled up and jumping all about, especially for the break at the end of the song.
The first single, Listen to Your Friends, is a bit more radio-friendly and reminiscent of Coming Home. While not dependent on the piano as many of the songs from the preceding effort were, its smooth vocal harmonies and up tempo rhythm make it an obvious choice as a single. 47 changes it up with its heavy riffs and thick basslines, giving the song a lot more depth and contrast to the previous song. Itll likely go over as a hit in the live setting thanks to its shout and recall chorus. Another sure-fire favorite to be is Truck Stop Blues. It is a firecracker of a song with its high energy pace; and it boasts a huge hook for a chorus.
And while the album starts off with a bang, it does have its flaws. New Found Glory has always been a band with pre-existing hardcore influences. The bands incorporation of these influences has always been there, but never as pronounced as they they are now. Ill Never Love Again sums up what Im taking about it. If its aggressive guitar chops and seemingly out of place gang-vocals in the chorus aren't enough, the breakdown at the end really just puts the nail in the coffin. There are plenty of horrid breakdown pop-core bands already...why they chose to do this is beyond me. Such a Mess also takes to this direction as well; again the breakdowns are just a tad over the top.
Thankfully Reasons heads in a different direction, recalling Coming Home with its acoustic guitars and mid-tempo pace. The closing punches of This isnt You and Dont Let this be the End really give a nice portrait of the high points on the album. Both are rabid and upbeat slabs of pop-punk, but also find ways of incorporating more melodic elements into the songs, demonstrating the maturity of the groups songwriting.
Lyrically, New Found Glory treads familiar territory of broken and failed relationships, if you couldnt decipher that from the song titles. The lyrics cover familiar topics but never in a clichéd or sophomoric style. This is something that has always separated them from the hordes of other bands; something that continues to make them unique.
Not Without a Fight proves that a once heralded major label act can survive after returning to the indie world. And while I appreciate New Found Glorys continued development, I feel there was just a bit too much influence from the bands surrounding environment. I was amongst the minority that actually enjoyed the direction New Found Glory took with Coming Home. And while I knew we wouldnt get another version of that album, it would have been nice to hear more of that songwriting interspersed on Not Without a Fight as opposed to that of bands influenced by New Found Glory's catalog.
8.0 / 10
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