#NewMusicFriday (January 19th 2024)

A pop-punk battle leads today’s round of #NewMusicFriday. In one corner you have Green Day returning with their fourteenth full-length, ‘Saviors’. In the other corner, there is UK pop-punk leaders, Neck Deep. In the run-up to both albums, both have shown promising glimpses of delivering strong albums. As you can see below, I can tell you one of these just about fulfils it. I’ve not heard ‘Saviors’, but the singles have shown Green Day haven’t lost that punk rock fire.

Elsewhere, Omar Rodríguez-López (The Mars Volta / At the Drive-In) delivers ‘Is It The Clouds?’ one of two previously unreleased records from his solo career-spanning 57 LP ‘Amor de Frances’ boxset. Indie rock duo Sleater-Kinney return with the grief-stricken ‘Little Rope’. Touché Amoré celebrates 10 years of 2013’s ‘Is Survived By’ by giving it the remastered/remixed treatment.

There are also new releases from modern alt-metallers Tenside, progressive sludge masters Lord Dying, emerging UK hard rockers South Of Salem, and London-born vocalist and troubadour Jarki Monno.

Photo Credit: Nat Wood

Neck Deep – Neck Deep

Sometimes there is no shame in going back to what you know, and that is what Neck Deep has done on this self-titled fifth full-length. 2020’s ‘All Distortions Are Intentional’ saw the Welsh group head into adventurous new directions, while maintaining one foot in the pop-punk sphere with mixed results. With this album seeing the band going into a bubble with little outside interference, and to their musical roots, you get the impression that there is a sense of regret linked to ‘All Distortions…’  Nevertheless, ‘Neck Deep’ is an unashamedly fun and sturdy reminder of their ability to deliver out-and-out pop-punk bangers!

From the outset, ‘Dumbstruck, Dumbf**k’ and ”Sort Yourself Out’ thrive with an abundance of relentless energy. The latter is delivered with a bombastic chorus, tinged with bitterness. For most of its 37 minutes, ‘Neck Deep’ doesn’t let up. Like it or not, Neck Deep thrives in this genre, and while there are moments that come off as formulaic (‘Go Outside!’), they’re still delivered with a tonne of momentum.

Lyrically, vocalist Ben Barlow covers a range of topics; broken relationships, introspective thoughts on his parents (“But now they’re fucked up just like you” on ‘They May Not Mean To (But They Do)’), the need to run away (via the arrival of UFO’s (‘Take Me With You’)), and mental health. Although these themes are hardly threaded together, Barlow’s delivery is done with conviction. Likewise, on the politically-charged ‘We Need More Bricks’, he delivers a rallying call of “We need more punks and we need more bricks”.

Throughout new member Matt Powles soars with bold drum work, driving the big hooks on ‘This is All My Fault’ and ‘Heartbreak Of The Century’. Whereas Ben’s brother, bassist Seb, along with guitarists Matt West and Sam Bowden continuously maintain the energy while delivering subtle grooves and favourable melodies.

Having continuously proved their doubters wrong from the moment they emerged 10 years ago, it’s fitting that Neck Deep‘s self-titled album is them at their best, even if they’ve had to creatively take a step back in the process.

What is out on #NewMusicFriday?

Green Day – Saviors
Neck Deep – Neck Deep
Touché Amoré – Is Survived By: Revived
Mike Shinoda – Already Over Sessions
Omar Rodríguez-López – Is It The Clouds?
Sleater-Kinney – Little Rope
Tenside – Come Alive Dying
Lord Dying – Clandestine Transcendence
South Of Salem – Death Of The Party
Jarki Monno – Mother Told Me ‘These Things Would Happen’
Nick Oliveri – N.O. Hits At All Vol. 8 + Vol. 9
Saxon – Hell, Fire & Damnation
Massive Wagons – Welcome To The World (Re-issue)
Glass Beach – plastic death
Chew Magna – Chew Magna
Night Thieves – Polarity
Underneath – From The Gut Of Gaia
Birthmark – Birth of Omni
Nemophila – Evolve
Advocacy – The Path Of Decoherence
The Rods – Rattle The Cage
Twin Mill – Different Skies
The Speakeasy – The Speakeasy

If you think I’ve missed something or have a new album/EP/song to tell us about, tell us about it here.

If you’re looking for the latest tracks focusing on rock, punk, hardcore, metal, emo, and everything in between, then check out our ‘Newish Music’ playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.


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