New Found Glory - Resurrection (Cover Artwork)

New Found Glory

Resurrection (2014)

Hopeless Records

With so many bands changing, evolving and doing everything they can stay relevant, the familiar sound in New Found Glory’s Resurrection is refreshing. The band holds steadfast to its roots in its eighth studio album despite plenty of recent distractions. Resurrection dropped following the NFG’s split with lyricists and lead guitarist, Steve Klein. Singer Jordan Pundik welcomed a new son and NFG signed to Hopeless Records. That's a lot for a band to go through as it crafts an album.

Now a foursome, the band’s “less is more” attitude lends itself to a sound similar in Sticks and Stones (2002) and Catalyst (2004). Resurrection is catchier, punkier and an easier listen than recent albums Radiosurgery (2011) and Not Without A Fight (2009), bringing fans back to the days of listening to NFG on CD players and cassette tapes. It’s heavy and quickly paced from beginning to end, yet there is a sense of uniqueness about each song.

Written during the final stages of Resurrection’s production, “Selfless” starts off the album. Hard-hitting from the opening line, it sets the tone for the next 12 songs. Lines like “made a pledge to never grow up a bitter dinosaur/ never make mistakes that I made before/I wanna’ live selfless instead of just floating by” are appropriate for a band full of dudes in their late 30s and reflect NFG’s maturity.

Track two, “Resurrection,” flashes glimpses of old school NFG and the brilliance in their first couple albums. Backed by chunky power chords and an active drumbeat, Pundik’s vocals jump from octave to octave similar to the band’s earliest work, but parts of the song are muddled by poorly placed screams and bland guitar work similar to that in their last two albums.

The next three songs are the best stretch for the album. Track three, "The Worst Person,” is vintage pop-punk; fast paced, loaded with double kicks and bouncy from beginning to end. Some may say the song is a shot Klein, but in this reviewer’s opinion that’s tough to tell. The next song, “Ready and Willing,” might be the album’s best all-around tune. It’s well written and Pundik’s voice is just nasally enough to remind listeners of Catalyst. Plus its catchy chorus will have fans hitting the repeat button.

The album continues with “One More Round,” an overtly aggressive yet fun track that should see plenty of downloads. “Vicious Love” is a next, acting is the token “troubled relationship” song on the album. Listeners will enjoy the change of pace in the bridge as well as the harmonious, powerful last thirty seconds.

Resurrection drops in quality from there, but is without an avoidable song. Guitarist Chad Gilbert shines in “Persistent,” “Story of a Different Kind” is pedal to the mettle, and “Degenerate” is a perfect ode to the album Sticks and Stones. “Angel” hooks listeners with Pundik belting the first verse over a heavy base line while maintaining an edgy sound throughout. “Stubborn” is one of the album’s most complex songs featuring the vocals of Bayside’s Anthony Raneir. The band exercises past demons with the lines “for only one more night/To hold you close, to tell you you were right/ Oh, and I’ll take all the blame.”

The album transitions into the home stretch with “Living Hell” and “On My Own.” Both are very poppy with the latter being a standout tune. Early power chords give way to Pundik in the first chorus as he belches the line “so I’ll erase your name, start again, make it clear so there’s no more question.” For NFG’s standards, it’s complex song featuring six or seven pace changes and a perfect capper to the album.

Ultimately Resurrection stacks up to some of New Found Glory’s best work. “Ready and Willing,” “One More Round” and “Story of a Different Kind” are three of the better songs the band has put together in years. The album itself is deep, hopefully reflecting the NFG’s return to its glory days even though the group has gone through so much change.