by Sara Dollens
Following the great success of their debut album, Wishful Thinking (2014), Welsh Rock band Neck Deep were in store for great things. In December of 2014, the band announced they had started recording their second studio album with the help from Jeremy McKinnon, lead singer from A Day To Remember, and producer Andrew Wade. The band definitely stepped outside of their comfort zone with this album and worked with new people they’ve always looked up to.
In preparation for the album release, Neck Deep introduced their first single, “Can’t Kick Up The Roots” to listeners on May 12 and proceeded with a second single, “Gold Steps,” on July 20. These two songs completely set the tone for the rest of the album. If the guitar riffs and killer drumbeats don’t get you excited, then the relatable pop-punk lyrics will.
Out of the two singles, I’d have to say that my favorite is “Gold Steps.” It’s about as pop-punk as you can get and for sure a summer anthem.
Neck Deep definitely stepped up their game with this album. The vocals are sharper and louder throughout the album. The guitar riffs are more elaborate, and the drums keep getting better with every song they release.
Track one, “Citizens Of Earth,” is a harsh, more vocally driven song and also the shortest song on the album, coming in at 2 minutes and 40 seconds. As the album progresses, the band mixes it up a bit with track seven, “Serpent,” and incorporates a softer introduction, as well as more laid back vocals throughout the song. The band chose to make track nine, “December,” completely stand out on its own and they made it acoustic. Pop-punk bands sure love their acoustic songs!
Neck Deep set out to make their second album bigger and better than their first. They wanted to release an album that would help define who they are as a band, and establish them as one of the best pop-punk bands out there. I think it’s safe to say that they did just that with this album.
All in all, I think this record is well balanced and their sound has definitely improved since their last album. It’s a breath of fresh air when a band steps outside of there comfort zone and experiments with their sound.
Neck Deep’s future looks bright, despite the recent accusations towards the band. On August 22nd, it was reported that guitarist Lloyd Roberts had been accused of sexual harassment of underage girls. The band released an official statement on Facebook on August 23rd stating that although the facts of the matter are still unclear, Lloyd has decided to step down from the band to “focus on his family, as he does not feel comfortable having his reputation, or that of the band sullied further by these accusations.”
It seems like these accusations have been brought up a lot recently with different bands in this scene and it’s quite disappointing. It’s hard to tell if Lloyd leaving so suddenly was the best decision when we don’t know the whole story, but from what we have learned so far, it seems appropriate that he did.