The long-awaited third album of Welch rockers Neck Deep has been available on iTunes and Spotify since this August- and it’s 100 percent pure pop-punk. In other words, I highly recommend “Life’s Not Out to Get You” to anyone interested in songs with an empowering sound and an album with a general theme. I found the main concept to be that living in today’s world can certainly be a challenge, but if you simply looks close enough, you’ll eventually realize that life can also be enjoyable as it is, and as humans we can only make the most of it.
The lyrics generally speak of typical themes such as romance and breakups, along with more advanced messages such as the pros and cons of living in this generation. The opening track, “Citizens of Earth,” warns listeners about problems the human race is currently facing, including lyrics such as “We all kick our way through streets of grey, some find hope in a TV screen, but nobody has an answer for anything and no one can seem to agree.” One track, titled “December,” is more acoustic, with powerful suspension and haunting lyrics that speak of wishing a past lover well in later life (“I hope you get your ballroom floor, your perfect house with rose red doors, I’m the last thing you’d remember, it’s been a long lonely December.”) The lead single, “Can’t Kick Up the Roots,” tells of the small town life and how home may not be paradise, but it is truly where the heart is. My favorite song of the album is easily “I Hope This Comes Back To Haunt You,” a song with dynamic and rhythmic contrast from a slow to fast tempo. Lead vocalist Ben Barlow speaks of a past relationship and how the girl made a selfish move to end it, hoping she’ll understand his sorrow someday and regret her decision. (“Then maybe you would know just how it felt to be like me at my lowest. As you let me out the door, you tore me open. My final words were left unspoken.”)
What I was honestly most impressed by was the heavy sound and instrumental riffs of the album, which never fail to get me out of bed in the morning. Each member of the group truly has something special to offer, even for general pop/rock listeners who don’t usually prefer this style of music. The album cover artwork was also surprisingly a good fit, and reminded me lot of the 2000 pop-rock album “Return of Saturn” by No Doubt (ironic because both bands have the same initials) with a hidden picture related to each song on the album found somewhere on the front cover.
One song on the album got to get on my nerves a bit because of its filler sound (used, I assume, to keep the song from sticking out from the rest) and horrid title with barely a connection to the song (“The Beach is For Lovers, Not Lonely Losers,”). But the rest of the album’s tracks didn’t disappoint me one bit. Neck Deep has also shown many stylistic improvements since the beginning, adding more memorable melodies and guitar solos to their new songs which have become more well known for listeners than the less known tracks from their first two albums.
A lot of music listeners may not have heard of this group because these songs may not be played on the radio or on TV, but that certainly doesn’t mean one shouldn’t give it a chance. Mainstream or obscure, all music has the ability to change and shape people’s lives – especially music with relatable messages and lyrics. Neck Deep does not fail to make its current fandom of teenagers content, which should be enough to make any band or artist successful in the first place.