Neck Deep have pulled together and produced a punchy and enjoyable Pop Punk record following two tumultuous years.
|Artist: Neck Deep
Album Title: The Peace and the Panic
Genre: Pop Punk
Following the bands 2015 release Life’s Not Out To Get You, Neck Deep had a tumultuous 2 years with both ups and downs. Guitarist Lloyd Roberts left the band due to allegations of sexual misconduct and was replaced with Sam Bowden. Ben Barlow also sadly lost his father whilst on tour. However, despite these events Neck Deep were able to pull together and produce a mixture of heart-felt, punchy and enjoyable Pop Punk tracks on their latest record, The Peace and the Panic.
Neck Deep were a band that until about April this year I didn’t really know too much about. I’d hear faint rumblings but it was only until I sat on a curb eating a hot dog outside the Monster Stage at Slam Dunk 2017 that I was able to catch some of their set. Following those few well performed and energetic songs I checked out their 2014 release Wishful Thinking. A fast paced, thrash-y Pop Punk recorded that boasted some great songs like ‘Losing Teeth’, ‘Damsel in Distress’ and ‘Growing Pains’. The bands potential really shines through on this particular release, and despite having a similar sound to their peers A Day To Remember, any pre-conceptions of these guys just being ‘another pop punk’ band were washed away with their second release Life’s Not Out To Get You.
Released in November 2015, Life’s Not Out To Get You received positive reviews and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2016 Alternative Press Music Awards and for Best Album of the Year at the Kerrang! Awards. The band feel more comfortable and confident throughout the album that had an even balance of bouncy energetic track and more sombre pop punk ballads such as ‘December”.
With The Peace and the Panic Neck Deep sound stronger, more refined and mature. Dani Washington’s genius on the drums really shines through. Filling gaps with clever rolls, lick and fills – one track in particular, ‘Happy Judgement Day’ rocks so many cool little moments. The record itself is littered with them however, and as a drummer myself, it’s genuinely a treat to listen to.
The inclusion of Sam Bowden on guitar is hardly noticeable, he feels like he’s always played for them. There feels like there is a slight change of style, but it’s barely noticeable – he’s a great guitarist and I think having worked as a guitar tech in between his other projects definitely aided in making this album as good as it is. The guitar riffs and licks on tracks such as ‘The Grand Delusion’ and ‘Heavy Lies’ marry to the rhythm section so well you would think Bowden had been playing with them for years.
The band feel like a tight unit throughout the record and like the previous two releases the track-list is balanced and Pop Punk through and through. The production and mix on this record really impressed me as well. There doesn’t really feel like there’s a sheen on it, the instrumentation feels full but not overbearing in anyway. When stripped back like in the tearjerker ‘Wish You Were Here’, the track still feels powerful with the piano track merely adding to holding Barlow’s vocals up as the focal point. It’s also nice to hear Sam Carter from Architects featuring on the banger ‘Don’t Wait’.
There’s a sense of vulnerability and overcoming it on this record. The guys haven’t let their success get to them. They still very much appreciate and write for their fans, and despite the turmoil of the years prior Neck Deep haven’t sat on their laurels nor have they forgotten to have fun. I can safely say as well that after having seen them perform at the UEA in Norwich this October that sense of unity and self-assurance bleeds into their live shows.
On and off the record this band are pretty special and I would recommend that anyone take a listen or two as The Peace and the Panic is not a record that disappoints.