by Halle Zitricki
Neck Deep’s latest and extremely anticipated full length album, The Peace And The Panic, is set to come out this Friday, the 18th. The self-proclaimed “generic pop-punk” band from Wrexham gives the word “generic” a very good name. That title that they give themselves doesn’t do them justice, especially not after hearing their newest record.
Personally, I’ve been a fan of Neck Deep for a good couple years now, and this album is by far my favorite. I’m not completely biased though – I know this band isn’t perfect, and there’s always been some songs I haven’t liked very much. Over the last couple album cycles, they typically tend to have a rather chaotic feel to them, where, for me personally, it was almost exhausting to listen to after a while. However The Peace and the Panic is very different.
Right from when I heard the first track I knew that my ears were in for something great. It instantly pulls you in with the classic Neck Deep thundering guitar riffs and drumming in the opening track “Motion Sickness.” And frontman Ben Barlow’s vocals seem to get better with each album – this is the best I have ever heard him. Between the powerhouse vocals and somehow nostalgic but fresh and new pop-punk sound, you really can tell just how much work they put into making this record, from start to finish. It still has their signature, slightly chaotic sound, but this time around it is wonderfully balanced between heavier and some more mellow songs, and even after listening to the album all the way through multiple times, I haven’t found a song that I don’t like. This is Neck Deep at their very best. The lyrics have a bit of a darker undertone to them, but I mean that in the most positive way possible – that is by no means a critical statement. The whole album is honest and energizing. It’s refreshing; it feels personal and real, and I have so much respect for these artists for creating what they did.
Their hard work and improved energy has been noticed. Neck Deep’s sound has matured significantly – the four pop-punkers have proven that they are artistically capable of so much more than what we’ve been shown previously – with both their music and their videos. They’ve slowly been releasing a few singles and music videos off of the upcoming album, including the title track “Motion Sickness,” “Where Do We Go When We Go,” “Happy Judgement Day,” and “In Bloom,” which was just released on August 13th. All of these tracks generating more views within 24 hours than any of their other previous releases have:
Launch views- First 24 hours
“In Bloom” – 226,356 Views
“Motion Sickness” – 146,000
“Where Do We Go When We Go”- 97,000
“Happy Judgement Day”- 86,500
“December feat. Hoppus”- 66,000
“Gold Steps”- 50,000
“Kali Ma-” 49,000
Neck Deep is proving themselves more and more to being a staple in the pop punk genre/community. They have had enormous success mixed with equally enormous hard times all at once, and so often that it will make your head spin. But I’m certain that’s what has brought Neck Deep to where they are now. Music is therapy, as is creating. And the more of yourself that you put into what you create, the more successful that creation will be, because then, it’s real.
“It’s not all ‘Let’s have a party and grab a beer’ this time,” said frontman Ben Barlow, about the new album, “But I wouldn’t say it’s pessimistic, just realistic. Trying to make something of your life is a big theme on this record, as is dealing with depression and anxiety. There are some political songs in there as well –we’re at a point where we’re comfortable using our voices to talk about those things.” This album is real, it’s built around what’s important to the band members themselves, and that’s what makes it special, and that is what’s bringing these latest singles even more success than the ones from previous records. I wholeheartedly believe this record is going to have something for everybody – whether or not you currently consider yourself a fan of the band.
You can pre-order The Peace and the Panic here, and if you want to see them live this winter I highly recommend it – their shows have an insane amount of energy, and you wouldn’t want to miss it. They’re one of those groups that you have to see in person in order to fully appreciate what they do. They’ll be coming everywhere from Toronto to Atlanta to Cleveland and (almost) everywhere in between. A full list of dates can be found below and tickets can be purchased here. Be sure to check out their latest video for “Motion Sickness” and keep an eye out for the official album release this Friday.