After 20 years, New Found Glory are undoubtedly veterans of the pop-punk scene. Outside of the big-two Blink 182 and Green Day-it’s hard to think of a band who’ve done more to influence the genre. Easy-core stalwarts who’ve enjoyed the ups, weathered the downs and consistently delivered fun and incredibly listenable music. As with any lengthy career, some releases are undoubtedly better than others, but New Found Glory have always done enough to keep the fans coming back for more.
Makes Me Sick, as the band themselves once put it, is very hit and miss. There is some brilliant pop-punk here; angsty lyrics delivered with a wry, knowing wink. ‘Call Me Antisocial’ is the kind of loser-anthem that over 20 years NFG have turned into an art-form. The high-pitched vocals, with the obligatory power chords are exactly what we’ve come to expect from this band.
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‘Party On Apocalypse’ is one of the best singles New Found Glory have ever recorded, with crunchy guitars and an ear-worm of a chorus that’ll have you singing along for days. Proof, if any was needed, that New Found Glory can still write songs that are as addictive, as they are fun.
One of the album’s highlights has to be ‘Short and Sweet’, which accomplishes the challenging task of combining a tender love song, with early-noughties pop-punk in a blast of pure energy. The audio equivalent of landing a 360 ollie on your skateboard!
Unfortunately, as good as some of the songs are, what lets this album down and stops it from being great is the excessive smattering of synths. New Found Glory have usually avoided using electronic effects on their records, the exception to this rule being on Catalyst where they were used sparingly, and to great effect.
While the approach on Catalyst seemed considered, on Makes Me Sick no consideration seems to have been put into where to add the synth, or if it’s even necessary. Songs such as ‘Your Jokes Aren’t Funny’ and ‘Say It, Don’t Spray It’ start off well, but are rendered almost unlistenable by irritatingly twinkly synth. With the synth driving the listener to distraction, these songs aren’t as memorable as they potentially could be.
Over 20 years, New Found Glory have proven their songwriting skills beyond doubt. While Makes Me Sick is a collection of solid pop songs, they just aren’t brilliant NFG tracks. As such, it’s hard to see the record becoming essential listening for long-time NFG fans; as nice as it is to have a new record from the pop-punk legends.