Man Overboard – Heart Attack
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Record Label: Rise
It makes sense that the band with the battle cry of “Defend Pop Punk” would eventually take aim at the heart. With its self-titled Rise debut feeling a bit safe at times, we needed Man Overboard to reclaim that Real Talk urgency. I’m not saying the band’s last album was bad, but it was missing some of the punch its debut possessed. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Heart Attack, as Man Overboard has brought back its defibrillator to jumpstart things once again.
One of my colleagues stated that it finally sounds like the band is composing complete songs instead of just hooks, and I tend to agree – at least that’s how the self-titled came across to me; it had killer choruses but not much else. Heart Attack remedies that, however, as album opener “Secret Pain” delivers the right amount of kick, as the mid-tempo verses and energetic chorus gives off the sense of a refined Real Talk track. “Boy Without Batteries” features one of the album’s best choruses (good luck getting that bridge out of your head), while the title track and “Suppy” are pure pop-punk bliss.
Heart Attack also has the band channeling some heaviness into its brand of pop-punk, a la New Found Glory’s Not Without A Fight (not surprisingly, as Man Overboard once again enlisted NFG guitarist Steve Klein as its producer). Songs like “White Lies” and “S.A.D.” add some crunch and aggressiveness, with the latter being one of the band’s angriest songs. “Hoodie Song” wouldn’t sound out of place on an album like Where You Want To Be, while “Open Season” also revels in that mid-2000’s sound as Geoff Rickly of Thursday fame jumps in vocally on the song’s bridge and gives the song some extra pizzazz (it also made me kind of wish Rickly would front his own pop-punk band one day).
And even though the majority of Heart Attack is paced by its urgent and fast-paced nature, the band finds their sweet spot when they slow it down on closer, “Wide Awake.” It’s reminiscent of Real Talk’s “Sidekick” and finishes the album on a sweet high note, with its gang vocals and sampled piano and string sections evoking memories of emo/punk ballads of Taking Back Sunday and the like from the early Aughts.
While some of the album’s lyrical content is still stuck in high school, the band made some strides in its overall songwriting on Heart Attack, with songs like “How To Hide Your Feelings” maintaining these themes of love and heartbreak without it becoming too cheesy (the song’s desperate chorus doesn’t hurt either). But with fourteen tracks, Heart Attack suffers from some mild filler. “Re Run” (insert your own joke here) and “Damage Control” are utterly forgettable and some aforementioned songs (“Suppy” and “Boy Without Batteries,” for example) get by purely on its catchiness, as the lyrical content offers little to no substance.
Despite all that, Heart Attack is a decidedly huge improvement over the band’s 2011 effort, as Man Overboard is back on track to the potential a lot of us put in them after Real Talk. There’s still a great album somewhere in this Philly quintet and we hear flashes of it throughout (“Wide Awake,” “Hoodie Song,” and the title track), but until we’ll sing our hearts out to another good release.
Good review, Drew. It's funny because I bought this and the new Eisley records last weekend, and you reviewed both of them, haha. And while I loved the new Eisley album, this record, not so much. With that being said, I do agree with your review. A 7.5 is very spot on, and I do like this more than the s/t.
This is easily the best album they've released (and I say this as a big fan of Real Talk). Sure, the lyrics aren't up to much, but if you want bouncy, catchy-as-balls pop punk melodies that are going to get stuck in your head for days, you can do a lot worse than to check out this record.