Neck Deep – A History of Bad Decisions
Record Label: Pinky Swear Records
Release Date: 19th February, 2013
Neck Deep are rapidly rising up the ranks of today’s scene. Riding on a wave of worldwide hype thanks to the legions of Facebook likes, Twitter followers and a cult-like Tumblr army, the young UK pop-punk outfit have fans overseas already begging for a tour in their country. Not bad for a band that played their first live show together less than six months ago.
Rolling off the back of their 2012 EP “Rain in July”s success (coming in the form of a buzzing merch store, supporting tours around the country and a slot at Liverpool Sound City Festival), the band have released a 3-track record entitled “A History of Bad Decisions” for a “pay-what-you-want” option, meaning you can have it for free or pay anyway to help support the band. Following rave reviews for RIJ from fans, several critics were quick to criticise the band back in ’12 for being “generic”, “not bringing much to the table”, and that it was an average effort put towards a flailing genre that lacked originality. Being part of a threadbare UK pop-punk scene however, it is rare you find this kind of music so well polished and written on this side of the water. Neck Deep are one of the few bands you can find representing the British side of things, alongside fellow pop-punk groups like Me Vs Hero, Decade, Save Your Breath & Gnarwolves.
Opener “Up in Smoke” kicks in at full throttle, with vocalist Ben Barlow pouring out his emotion with every syllable. The production is impressive, letting you ease back into the usual Neck Deep style. The song had a debut play on the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show on the 18th of February, resulting in positive feedback from fans across the world.
“Tables Turned” is my personal favourite from the EP. It ends with a lovely solo guitar, complete with a classic tone to it (helping show the band’s diversity and talent, which was questioned through previous reviews of RIJ) before exploding into an impressive outro breakdown that thankfully doesn’t borderline on cringe worthy, but instead turns a tired, over-used song mechanic into the most entertaining part of the song.
Final track “Head in the Ground” begins as an acoustic ballad that rings out brilliantly thanks to the fantastic hooks and lovesick lyrics. Before you can say “A Part of Me pt. II”, the whole band come together and end in powerful fashion, accompanied with a typical pop-punk slogan that will almost definitely be gracing fans’ status updates for weeks to come (“Maybe you’ll stop me from digging my own fucking grave”).
I personally was blown away by RIJ, so the fact that Neck Deep have pulled this out of the bag, flawlessly silencing critics and displaying their talent as musicians, lyricists and an all-round class act astounds me. A History of Bad Decisions is a brilliant little gem by one of the best new bands in the last twelve months. Believe the hype.