Exclusive: Life On The Sideline EP announcement, music video premiere

Since releasing Honesty Is A Dying Breed two years ago, Life On The Sideline has remained active on the road and is now ready to unveil its upcoming EP, Never Settle. To kick things off, we're premiering the music video for the band's new single, "Echo", which tells the sad story of a young girl reminiscing times spent with her deceased partner. While not a pop punk song per se, it's as catchy as one with an infectious chorus that you'll inevitably get stuck in your head. The band's sound could be compared to that of Transit's and The Early November's. Fans can pre-order the EP on iTunes and CD here, before it's released on June 7th. […]

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Man Overboard - "Heavy Love"

Release InfoMan Overboard - Heavy Love
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Record Label: Rise Records
Pre-order: Digital, CD, vinyl

Modern pop punk's giants and purveyors, Man Overboard, have garnered various accolades that would be expected from one of the supreme forces within independent alternative music. The band has secured a distinct presence within the scene by building an intimate rapport, extending to the accessibility of its catalogue's topical nature. The New Jersey clan has attempted to infiltrate the scene once again with its latest effort, Heavy Love.

“Now That You’re Home” is the signal to the melodic charge of Heavy Love. The track is notably reminiscent of the pop-orientated gleam of Real Talk and a return to their humble beginnings, which would resonate with early followers of the band. The following tracks, “Borderline” and “Reality Check”, usher in the darker element within the band's artistry that comprised the its previous full-length, Heart Attack. Memorable call-and-response refrains are packed aplenty on these two singles, offering a vacant position for listeners to fill, obliging them to also sing along with the robotic interplay.

“Splinter” is one of the defining moments on the record, with a galloping rhythm that obstructs all attention. The signature vocal interplay reaches a sky-scraping high between Zac Eisenstein and Nik Bruzzese, matching the prestige of the distinct vocal duo of john Nolan And Adam Lazzara (of Taking Back Sunday fame); the likeness is palpable, and on tracks like these, almost surpassing.

The fourth single, “Cliffhanger”, is as anxiety-inducing as the title suggests, where a blast-beat-ridden moment is pushed to the forefront. “Cliffhanger” is a definite future live favourite, built to compact the fervent energy at a show into all-encompassing circle pits for scores of bodies to crash into each other.

“She’s In Pictures” is a return to the sugary pop seeds that were sown in the beginning of the record with “Now That You’re Home”. A classic surf pop '60s sway takes command of the track, encapsulating the exuberant bounciness of the plethora of '50s and '60s pop acts, such as The Monkees and early Beatles material. Here, the pop-orientated elements within the band's songwriting sprout perfectly.

The bold, punchy, piercing inflection of Eisenstein pulls “Deal” through its misery-riddled end as he laments "I can’t win or fix myself again, so deal with my imperfections". Here, both vocalists share the workload taking turns to strike while their angst is at its tenfold. “Anything” stretches across the broad scope of Man Overboard’s sound--the first half rages at a blazing speed, while its counterpart distills time as it halts, leaving Bruzzese to man the forte momentarily before Eisenstein takes the duty upon himself to draw attention to one of the more memorable sing-alongs on the album, declaring "I will say anything to make you smile, I’ll say anything to make you stay a little while". The sing-along refrain is enough to rival the famous sing-along section of famous favourite “Septemberism” found on Real Talk.

“For Jennie” and “A Love That I Can’t Have” are the last moments on the record where listeners are again greeted with emotive songs that capitalize on Man Overboard’s formula of melody and the magic that holds “Heavy Love” together.

It is apparent that on Heavy Love the band has recognised that a redirection of sound isn’t warranted. The strengths within its sound, however, is harnessed. The lead guitar lines are bold, adding a sharpened flare to the tracks whenever needed. The rhythms are bouncy and incendiary at the crucial moments, flooring you where listeners will find themselves at a loss to comprehend how the band has encapsulated such potent emotion within a mere three or four minutes. Dark, heavy welds of emotion are encapsulated sonically that become suffocating with angst, from the eerie synthesized pad loops of “The Note”, to the explosive, never-ending, neurotic spurt of Eisenstein on “Invincible”, where he retraces the often-pleasant early bloom of a romance with pain, finally exploding at the conclusion, stating "I will be in the background".

1. Now That You're Home
2. Borderline
3. Reality Check
4. Splinter
5. The Note
6. Cliffhanger
7. She's In Pictures
8. Invisible
9. Deal
10. Anything
11. For Jennie
12. A Love That I Can't Have

RIYL: Poppier moments of Real Talk, darker material on Heart Attack, Where You Want To Be-era Taking Back Sunday


More reviews by Aaron Akeredolu