I've never been a huge fan of New Found Glory. Nor have I ever been a huge fan of the more mainstream and pop orientated punk rock bands around. Therefore, I didn't have high expectations for the new New Found Glory full-length, entitled Catalyst. However, this album took me by surprise. I was forced to swallow my pride, and to accept that this album actually is rather good.
First of all, this album is not for the close minded, stereotype punkrock fan. It's melodic, sometimes a bit over the top with its harmonies and sugar-laden choruses, and some Something Corporate-esque piano lines are also included. The lyrics cannot be labelled as great poetry now matter how you look at them. However, its strength lies in its incredible catchiness, addictiveness and, at times, very strong song writing. It's radio friendly, sure, and it's also a band that the punk rock elite gets kicks out of dissing. But still. I choose not to focus on such matters, and I'll instead try to focus on the qualities this album has.
The first three tracks are all very strong. The intro is a very short affair, and reminded me of Kid Dynamite at times (!). Fast and to the point. Second track is the song which is also released as a single, namely "All Downhill From Here". Although it's cheesy and very poppy, it's still a good track. Mostly a mid-tempo affair, which reminds me of a mixture of Allister, Midtown and Something Corporate. Surprisingly, it actually works out (at least for me). "This Disaster" follows in the same vein. Mid tempo verse ā?? and with a "huge" chorus.
However, at times, NFG really goes too far with the emotional and sugar-sweet melodies. "I Don't Wanna Know" is a song that reeks of unnecessarity. It's also hard to get out of your head, as its orchestra-driven chorus tends to stick inside your head like glue. "Ending In Tragedy" is another song that follows this formula.
The strongest track on the album, by far, is "Your Biggest Mistake". Groovy, up-tempo, positive and with an impressive flow. It's one of the more punkier tracks on the record too. Another higlight is "No News Is Good News", found on the sampler "Rock Against Bush". A mid-tempo affair, but with the typical strong and catchy chorus.
The musicianship on "Catalyst" is top notch. NFG sounds really tight on this record, and the production also helps the instruments to shine the way they're supposed to be. Some may be put off by the singer's voice, but there's no denying that the guy can sing. Overall, I think this is a surprisingly strong release. Radio friendly, catchy, will appeal to the MTV punks, but still good. I can't help it. And I don't really care either. Perhaps a guilty pleasure, but a good one at that.
Not a revolutionary record, but it's good entertainment when you're in the mood for it.
All Downhill From Here