The biggest complaint you will often hear about pop-punk is that it is all too whiny. A lot of people associate heartbreak as the only thing anyone in the genre can sing about. The truth of the matter is this, pop-punk like any other genre can dig deep and be something meaningful and Neck Deep are proving just that with “The Peace and The Panic.”
Neck Deep have been gaining a huge amount of traction within the last few years. Based out of Wales in the UK, the outfit found a massive following with the release of their first extended play “Rain in July.” While that may be described as generic pop-punk, it was not until the band’s debut “Wishful Thinking” in 2014 did they really start to find their own sound. Vocalist Ben Barlow has always had an impressive range. It was their sophomore record “Life’s Not Out To Get You” that really cemented the band as the face of pop-punk. Their sophomore record tackled bigger issues and really was about helping someone get out of a rough patch. Now they are continuing along that trend of taking on big ideas with the release of their third-studio album “The Peace and The Panic.”
“The Peace and The Panic” is a 11-track record that clocks in at around 40 minutes in length. This is a record that is meant to be a calming voice in a storm of worry. Thematically it is taking the issues that society is facing and trying to remind everyone to just live life and be happy and not to worry about all the scary things in the world right now. The title of the album is a juxtaposition of two very different parts of life and listeners will find that songs reflect both parts of that.
Musically, we see how much more refined Neck Deep have been with composing their songs than in the past. While tracks may not carry as many layers, they are well mixed and produced in a way that is enjoyable to listen to, which fits more into the pop side of things than the punk. There still are plenty of more heavy elements that fans have come to expect from Neck Deep, with tracks like “Motion Sickness” and “Don’t Wait” that have these faster chord progressions and more on an emphasis on the drums than the rhythm guitars. “Don’t Wait” also has a memorable feature from Sam Carter that really steals the show. Even the slower tracks like “Critical Mistakes” and “Wish You Were Here” do not sound generic at all and have an appealing sound to them.
Lyrically, Neck Deep are building off what they started with their last album. “The Peace and The Panic” is a look at the world and how to be happy when everything around you appears to be up in the flames. There are tracks about self-destructive tendencies, abandonment and politics in general, and while it sounds all cutesy saying that they are trying to find some good in the bad, it is a lot more nuanced than that. Tracks like “In Bloom” and “Where Do We Go When We Go” are filled to the brim with lyrics that stick with you long after listening, and that is something that you really want with project like this. The band may not change the way you look at life, but they are trying to help you feel like you are not alone, and that is admirable and not easy to put to song.
Should you listen to it?: Without a doubt!
Neck Deep continue to be on the up and up. This is a band that has come far in not a long amount of time and are trying to make a difference with their listeners, and in a lot of ways they succeed. “The Peace and The Panic” may be a bit on the shorter side, but you will find it incredibly easy to listen to. There is a lot you may miss listening to your first time around and that adds a lot to the value of this record. This is an exciting time for Pop-punk, and Neck Deep are leading the way.
- Where to buy it:
- iTunes: $9.99, Amazon: $9.49, Best Buy: $8.99
Collegian reporter Alec Erickson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @CTV_Ace.