Man Overboard - Man Overboard
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: September 27th, 2011
Reviewed by: Victor DePaulo
It’s been one hell of a year for pop-punk, filled with great releases from the newer class of young bands and the great alumni from past generations of the genre. Among this excellent group of fresh bands are Man Overboard, a five-piece group from New Jersey that captivated awkward suburban dudes everywhere through a constant stream of solid releases, including last year’s Real Talk on Run For Cover Records. The group has not slowed down in 2011, signing to Rise Records, and playing festivals like The Bamboozle and tours with the likes of Senses Fail and New Found Glory. The band also welcomed back guitarist Wayne Wildrick after a short leave for personal reasons.
Man Overboard is the ultimate result of these agitated months that the band has experienced recently. The self-titled name of the album is perfect, as it does a good job portraying a vivid picture of the band and where they are at in their careers. The album rocks like Real Talk, but this time the hooks are bigger, the production is crisper, and the production is tighter.
From the start, it is easy to notice the traces of New Found Glory’s Steve Klein, who did a superb job producing the album. It is only obvious that the album features traces of a younger New Found Glory at times. There is no point in picking the album apart and attempting to analyze each and every part of it, as most of it is easily predictable once the listener has tasted the first few songs. Songs such as “Dead End Dreams”, “Punishment”, “Night Feelings”, and banger “Headstone” deliver just what is expected: Solid pop-punk with plenty of gang vocals, relatable lyrics, and catchy hooks that are sure to keep fans of the genre busy for a while to come. Vocals remain strong with Nik Bruzzese and Zac Eisenstein switching off microphone duties in East Coast fashion. The album is also swollen with moments that will have fans reminisce to the days of New Found Glory’s own Sticks And Stones. The closing track, “Atlas”, deserves a special mention. I am a sucker for the final track on albums, and the band did not disappoint. The song is Man Overboard’s own pop-punk anthem, like The Wonder Years’ “Logan Circle”, or Fireworks’ “Detroit”. It is inevitable that the song will spawn many tattoos in basement shows everywhere.
The album is not without it’s flaws, however. Despite large improvement in musicianship, the bands’ lyrics are yet to show any sense of maturity. Though these lyrics suffice for the current fan base of the band and the genre, it is hard to imagine the band gaining many fans outside the small, almost cult following it already has. Though the album features a consistent flow of average songs, Picture Perfect seems to stick out as the dud. The song is a slower-yet-not-so-slow jam compared to the rest of the album that does not offer any new content to the album, instead hindering the flow of the album.
In a nutshell, Man Overboard is a fun album with some above average moments such as fast paced “Headstone”, and closer “Atlas”, and other enjoyable, yet predictable efforts. Fans of the genre will be interested, and followers of the band will not be disappointed. The album will also win over those who aren’t completely sold on Man Overboard’s catchy brand of more-pop-than-punk pop-punk. The lyrics are nothing to write home about, but the tight production and musicianship definitely make up for it. Though the album may feel like it bleeds together, it is worth quite a few spins and a few more sing-a-longs before it is worn out. With Man Overboard, the band created a release that is not only a damn good album to listen to in the fall, they have also cemented their place in the front lines of the army of new bands that are up in arms, ready to defend pop-punk.
Go Download: Dead End Dreams, Headstone, Night Feelings, and Atlas
03. Voted Most Likely
04. Dead End Dreams
05. Something’s Weird
07. Not the First
10. Picture Perfect
11. Night Feelings
MAN OVERBOARD is:
Zac Eiesenstein — vocals/guitar
Nik Bruzzese — vocals/bass
Wayne Wildrick — guitar
Justin Collier — guitar
Mike Hrycenko - drums