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Review: Man Overboard - "Heart Attack"

Release InfoMan Overboard - Heart Attack
Release Date: May 28th, 2013
Record Label: Rise Records
Pre-order: CD/vinyl/merch

Man Overboard, one of the primary frontrunners of the contemporary “Defend Pop Punk” movement, have given us the pleasure of indulging in another vibrant record. Heart Attack is out May 28th via Rise Records and showcases the ever-growing progression of the New Jersey band’s maturity and musical stylings as well as the continuity of their signature sound.

Man Overboard is ubiquitous in the alt rock/pop punk scene today; from their distinct “Defend Pop Punk” merch to physically touring the world multiple times per year. Even if the only MOB tunes you know are "Love Your Friends, Die Laughing", "Montrose", and "Dead End Dreams" you are fairly aware of how annoyingly catchy their songs are, and how pertinent they can be to your own life’s woes - particularly, romantic strifes. Heart Attack does not diverge too far from the Man Overboard norm of crunching guitars, dual-vocal harmonies between Zac Eisenstein and Nik Bruzzese, and bouncy, jumpy quality to their songs.

Heart Attack displays the signature heart-wrenching relationship sorrows that helped make Man Overboard so popular and understanding to kids in the past, only this time their delivery is not as juvenile. That’s not to say that MOB’s prior releases had a One Direction or Selena Gomez edge to them; the band grew up, so they write more mature sad and/or mushy love songs. The high points for this idea on the record can be found in "How To Hide Your Feelings", "Boys Without Batteries", "Where I Left You", and "Damage Control".

The band explores their more creative side when it comes to instrumentals. "White Lies", although lacking in lyrical strength at times, is one of the more instrumentally complex tracks on the record, and one that you can pick out each instrument clearly throughout. MOB takes on a Taking Back Sunday style of songwriting at times by incorporating one specific, ultra-catchy line in most of their songs that is downright impossible not to mimic; “I hate me/So unoriginal” ("S.A.D."), “Gotta stop hanging around because the waiting hurts” ("How To Hide Your Feelings"), and the “Whoa”s in "Hoodie Song".

There is more experimentation with heavier, grungier guitars on Heart Attack. "Re Run" switches from head-bobbing crunchy guitars to swaying rhythms rather quickly. "Swan Dive" is more of a pop rock anthem with a jaunty, singalong-style chorus and a huge build-up in the bridge into the last verse. The title track goes back and forth in between varying time signatures and shows how powerful the band can be more so on this than any other song.

The band draws from some of their superiors in other parts of the record. One is an unusual idiosyncrasy to Heart Attack; the way in which Eisenstein and Bruzzese simultaneously pronounce the “A” assonance of the last word in each phrase of the chorus in opener, "Secret Pain" has a Noel Gallagher vibe to it. Curious or out-of-the-loop fans have been waiting for a song titled, "Suppy" for quite some time now. Although the song doesn’t give answers as to what, in fact, is a “suppy”, the track rules because of its slight American Idiot-era Green Day guitars and tempo. Another bonus to the record is the incorporation of Geoff Rickly on "Open Season", making the band have just as many vocalists as there are guitarists for a fast-paced, irresistible three minutes and eleven seconds.

Heart Attack is a remarkable full-length record by one of the more noteworthy bands in the pop punk scene today. For a record that was completed fairly quickly and almost entirely in secret, it has the heart of something that sounds like it took years of blood, sweat, and tears to write, record, and produce.

Tracklist:
1. Secret Pain
2. Boy Without Batteries
3. Where I Left You
4. Heart Attack
5. White Lies
6. S.A.D.
7. Suppy
8. How To Hide Your Feelings
9. Swan Dive
10. Hoodie Song
11. Re Run
12. Open Season (Feat. Geoff Rickly of Thursday)
13. Damage Control
14. Wide Awake

RIYL: Set Your Goals, The Starting Line, Real Friends
Rating:
Written by Melissa Jones

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