- Jordan Pundik's revitalised vocals
- The infectiously catchy choruses
- It's feel-good vibes
- It's short length
- It's formulaic nature
Fifteen years ago, a bunch of twenty-something out-of-shape pizza-eating losers dropped their third album, broke the top ten here in the UK and the top five in their home of America, and changed pop-punk forever. Add another five years to that, and they’ve been together for twenty long years. That band being New Found Glory, you know, the guys who’ll pick their friends over you, are always dressed to kill, and are prepared for one hell of an understatement that’ll cause a head-on-collision.
Twenty years and nine albums on and they haven’t changed, and they certainly haven’t lost it. ‘Makes Me Sick’ carries on the torch of new beginnings the band lit on 2014’s Resurrection, bringing their rough-around-the-edges pop-punk to the polished bubblegum era for once and all. So much so you’ll find yourself wondering if you’re listening to a New Found Glory-inspired All Time Low album or an All Time Low-inspired New Found Glory album, bleeps and blurs of synths going toe to toe with sunshine-state riffs and choruses crafted for sing-alongs the size of elephants.
In ten songs and 34 minutes, New Found Glory stick to their formula like a child to his mother, a dog to its owner, and a wolf to its pack, loyal to the old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Opener ‘Your Jokes Aren’t Funny’ is a nod to their past and a hand to their future as vocalist Jordan Pundik sounds revitalised, singing: “Your jokes aren’t funny anymore to me/ I’m not the same fool I used to be”, as if to say as solidly as he possibly could, that New Found Glory are back, and they’re here to stay, and that this time they mean business, the big boys are back in the running.
Admittedly, you’d be tempted with any other band to criticise them till they curl into a ball, crawl into a hole, and hide away, and yet you find yourself in a position of great difficulty, becoming prisoner to the irresistibly catchy choruses and licks of the likes of ‘Call Me Anti-Social’ and ‘Blurred Vision’, jangly modern-day slices of pop-punk pie for all the family to enjoy. For so long, so many of the late-nineties early noughties pop-punk pioneers struggled to keep up with the new wave of pop-punk with the likes of All Time Low, Neck Deep, and As It Is, and building on Resurrection’s groundwork, it’s clear that on ‘Makes Me Sick’, they’ve come leaps and bounds in the training ground to place themselves right back at the front of the pack, songs like ‘Say It Don’t Spray It’ and ‘Party On Apocalypse’ coming off as party-perfect jams ready for your summer BBQ playlists, rattling off about real life issues such as the end of the world and its political issues wrapped up delicately and deliciously in waves of simplistic bubblegum pop-punk.
‘Makes Me Sick’ isn’t the ground-breaking record ‘Sticks And Stones’ was back in the day, but it is the best record Jordan, Chad, and co. have released since, a half-hour power-punch of feel-good real-world pop-punk, with trickles of synths and modern-day pop.
‘Makes Me Sick’ is out now on Hopeless Records.