By Man Overboard
Man Overboard are here to "defend pop-punk" and as a lover of the genre I'd gladly head into battle with them. After signing to Run For Cover Records late last year, Man Overboard have released a split with Transit, a digital EP called "Dahlia", an acoustic EP called "Noise From Upstairs", and a collection of old and unreleased songs called "Before We Met: A collection of old songs". Man Overboard have a raw, DIY feel to their music and 'Real Talk' happily continues in this vein.
Dual vocalists Zac Eiestenstein and Nik Bruzzese are impressive on 'Real Talk'. Their tone is a little aggressive and the record as a whole sounds a little more punk-influenced, definitely not as poppy as some of their peers. Despite this, the tracks on offer here are light hearted, fun and make for a perfect album for sunny weather.
The title track 'Real Talk' is a great introduction to the band, a driving, melodic and high tempo number that instantly draws you in. It quickly becomes apparent that this band knows how to write a consistently good hook; 'World Favourite' is finely crafted and that along with 'Fantasy Girl' scream future hits, with some nice tempo changes and catchy sing along melodies.
A particular standout track for me is 'Al Sharpton' which is a little more poppy and is extremely infectious. It reminds me a lot of Motion City Soundtrack and should induce a massive sing along when played live. The middle section, if you will, of 'Real Talk' seems to be a bit more sugar coated than the rest of the record. 'She's Got Her Own Man Now' and 'Montrose' are structurally as sound as they come and feature some heartfelt lyrics while maintaining enough catchiness to grab you hook, line and sinker. 'FM Dial Style' reminds me a little of early Taking Back Sunday, which is no bad thing. The last bit of aggression from the band comes in the form of 'Septemberism' which is a foot stomping number with the line "I hate you, you shoulda picked up the phone tonight" being gang chanted to perfection. The album closes with the soft acoustic 'Sidekick' with some lovely handclaps and soft piano rounding off the record with an intimate feel.
Man Overboard have released one of the pop - punk records of the year and one that could easily become a classic. The consistency of the musicianship and vocals is astounding and is something that a lot of bands struggle to do later in their career, never mind this early. If you're a fan of the genre then consider yourself implored to join Man Overboard in defending it.