VINYL TIME (Episode 2)

It’s been a while since the first segment of Vinyl Time has been posted, so I figured this week, I’ll do another one! This week, I showcase this gorgeous, colorful LP from Neck Deep.

For those that don’t know (you probably should), Neck Deep is a pop-punk band from Wrexham, North Wales. The band is comprised of Ben Barlow (vocals), Fil-Thorpe Evans (bass), Matt West (guitar), Dani Washington (drums), and newcomer Sam Bowden (guitar; he replaced Lloyd Roberts). The band has released two EPs (Rain In July and A History of Bad Decisions) and two albums (Wishful Thinking and Life’s Not Out to Get You) since forming in 2012. I got turned on to them thanks to the band Knuckle Puck, who released a split with them in 2013. Their main influences include blink-182, New Found Glory, and Sum 41, and it really shows through their crushing (sometimes tender) music and emotional lyrics.

The album Wishful Thinking was the first Neck Deep album that I’ve ever heard, and I was hooked ever since I first heard songs like “Crushing Grief (No Remedy),” “Zoltar Speaks” (which might be my favorite on the album), and “Mileage.” This album has 12 songs in 34 minutes, and just like the rest of their discography, it is perfection. Produced by the band and Seb Barlow (Ben’s brother), it is sonically reminiscent to NFG and A Day to Remember bringing some nostalgia to the mix, but each song proves that the band is fresh as f*** (can I curse on here? I can’t remember). The drums, bass, and guitar tones on this album are some of the best that I have heard from a pop-punk band in the last five or six years. As soon as I saw this in the record shop that I frequent, I knew I was going to buy this album; even though I own all of their stuff on CD, still…VINYL.

Anyway, my favorite feature of this not only the beautiful splatter of yellow, green, and red, but also the fortuneteller’s face in the middle of the freaking record! It just makes the album feel more special with every listen, and I’m sure I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to this album for sure. I will admit though, I was a little bummed to find out that there was no inside gatefold, but there is a giant lyric sheet/credits list, which is also pretty cool. Speaking of the fortuneteller, is his name actually Zoltar? Might be a stupid question, but still not too sure.

If I had to tell someone which Neck Deep release to start with, I would say either this album or Life’s Not Out to Get You which is the newest one. Nothing bad against the EPs, but I do think that both studio albums are better starting points for someone who hasn’t listened to the band before. Side-note: my favorite song by these guys is probably “Gold Steps,” which is on the new album, because it’s so motivational. But I will talk about that a different time. Either way, please do yourself a favor, and pick up this album and listen to it from beginning to end. You will thank me later.

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