It has barely been a year since Man Overboard’s debut full length, Real Talk, but the New Jersey quintet are back with their self-titled follow up. Being one of the first “WTF” Rise Records signings, some were definitely weary about how their next record would sound. Well, the fans need not worry anymore, because Man Overboard hasn’t changed at all. The group is still making their brand of pop-punk, and shows why they are one of the currently leaders in the scene.
Opening track, “Rare”, sounds awkward during the verses, but as soon as the first chorus slides in, all those woes are gone. The band proved on Real Talk that they know how to start an album, and with “Rare” they’ve shown that they can do it again. “Dead End Dreams”, the album’s first released track, start off with some gang vocals and acoustic guitars, before bursting into one of Man Overboard’s classic sing alongs. As a piece of the record, the track works great, but does not represent the album enough to have warranted being the first track released.
The album truly shines it it’s second half though. “Headstone” is backed by pounding drums and aggressive guitars. Pairing the musicianship with the angry lyrics “My life will be a rock on your headstone / begging you to never rise again” show the more aggressive side to Man Overboard. Another one of the first tracks released, “Spunn”, is one of the catchiest tracks on the album, while featuring a slight appearance of keyboards/piano, something relatively new for the band. “Picture Perfect” starts off with just a guitar/vocal combination, which Man Overboard makes sound great. As Zac Eisenstein sings “He said, ‘I miss you so much’ / She said, ‘I miss you too’…”, we hear a new level of emotion, even though the lyrics are some of the most cliché. The album’s closer, “Atlas”, is Man Overboard’s best song to date. Both vocalists shine the more than any previous track released before. The song doesn’t follow the standard Man Overboard formula, but doesn’t stray so far from their signature sound. If “Atlas” is any sign of what Man Overboard has to offer in the future, then everyone is in for something special.
Not everything is great on Man Overboard though. “Not the First” sounded slightly better as an acoustic track, which was available to those who preordered the album, three weeks before the album’s release. “Teleport” sounds like an average track off of Real Talk, not to mention, it’s pairing with “Rare” makes the track sound all the less impressive.
The biggest improvement between Real Talk and Man Overboard is the production. While certain tracks would have sounded mediocre, their production sets them ahead of many of the bands older tracks. Tracks like “Spunn” and “Punishment” greatly benefit from the improved production, as the tracks sound almost like songs off Real Talk.
Sure the lyrics are cliché, and yeah, they didn’t show much progression, but Man Overboard released a better album. The album should not disappoint any fan of the band, as it sounds like the perfect follow up to Real Talk. The album is without a doubt a pop-punk gem, and will certainly be remembered up there with many of the other great albums this year.
Man Overboard is available now, on CD, LP, and Digital Download, via Rise Records.
3. Voted Most Likely
4. Dead End Dreams
5. Something’s Weird
7. Not The First
10. Picture Perfect
11. Night Feelings
Standout Tracks: Rare, Spunn, Atlas, Picture Perfect
For Fans Of: Fireworks, Handguns, The Wonder Years