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Album Review

Neck Deep – Life’s Not Out To Get You

Neck Deep Life's Not Out To Get You

Everything Neck Deep have spent three years working towards.

Label: Hopeless
Released: 14th August 2015

Rating: ★★★★★

Neck Deep have always showed real promise. Right back to 2013’s ‘Rain In July’, the Wrexham quintet have managed to sway the majority of genre skeptics. Whether you believe pop-punk was ever at risk of dying out or not (it wasn’t), this British mob’s second full-length stands to crush the naysayers.

When word spread of Ben Barlow and co hitting the studio with A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon, escaping the safety of 2014‘s ‘Wishful Thinking’ seemed paramount. Unsurprisingly, the twelve-track record is soaked in the Ocala musician’s influence. Complete with McKinnon’s guest vocals on ‘Kali Ma’, you can almost pinpoint the moments at which the frontman grabbed hold of their three-chord formula and make it braver, more honest and way more believable.

There’s an air of scatty, Sum 41-style angst about opener ‘Citizens Of Earth’, as Barlow’s vocals echo like a war cry to fans. The quick riffs of ‘Threat Level Midnight’ shift back towards the band’s comfort zone, but it’s the confident vocals that set it apart from their back-catalogue.

Lyrics about friends, relationships and growing up continue through ‘Lime St’, ‘The Beach Is For Lovers (Not Lonely Losers)’ and ‘Rock Bottom’. Cliche? Maybe. But for a band who’ve not long shed their teenage years, songs about mortgages and marriage breakdowns may be a way off still.

Ballads ‘December’ and ‘Serpent’ pillar the pacey pop-punk perfectly, with delicate acoustic strums entwined around sing-along lyrics infectious enough to rival fan favourite, ‘A Part Of Me’.

On the surface, ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’ is everything Neck Deep have spent three years working towards, but having achieved it so thoroughly, is testament to more than just a genre trend. They aren’t going away anytime soon, thankfully. Jessica Bridgeman