New Found Glory have always been a musical-staple of my summers. Since the release of Nothing Gold Can Stay, so many years ago, it seems that when the weather gets warm the pop-punk goodness of NFG is always close in tow. However, the band’s latest album hits us as the summer months fade and the air bends to the onslaught of fall. Incidentally, the band’s musical thermometer is still intact. Instead of an album full of summer-fist-pumping-anthems they’ve released the perfect music by which to watch the leaves fall from the trees.
The changing of seasons seems to be the perfect metaphor for New Found Glory; however, it’s important to note that while the color of leaves may change, the underlying nature never does.
Being one of the first bands this reviewer ever really fell in love with, and being one of the bands that helped shape the musical taste in his youth; it’s only fitting that the band’s slight stylistic changes would be right in tune with this reviewer’s own musical taste changes. While the choruses and sing-a-long hooks could compete with the best on any of their previous albums – it’s the slower melodic approach to the songs that truly makes the album come alive and fully breathe. Taking a cue from “The Story So Far” (one of my favorite NFG songs), the entire album moves in and out in a pulse-like-manner.
The stand out tracks include the lead single, “It’s Not Your Fault,” the title track, “Coming Home,” the insanely catchy, “Familiar Landscapes” and the brilliant closer, “Boulders.”
It’s crucial you abandon any pre-conceived expectations for this album. If you’re anticipating the band’s previous albums re-hashed, you’re going to be completely let-down. However, if you’re looking for an album that has maturity (I know that word is overused) and still contains the hooks and catchy nature of pop-punk, this is sure to be one of your favorites. Hand claps, gang vocals, acoustic guitars, piano, strings? I think that if you’re not singing along, you secretly want to.
The flaws in the album are present; however, they don’t detract from my enjoyment of the disc. The often nasal quality of Jordan’s voice (that spawned a million copy-cats) is actually subdued on this album. While NFG’s lyrics have never been brilliant prose, they have always been some of the few I can instantly relate to – this trend continues. Although there are a few moments that border on cheese. The only other noticeable short-coming is that the songs tend to blend together the more you listen, each being almost an extension of the others. The simple fact is if you can buy into the band’s “changed” sound you’re going to be a huge fan of this album. There will be some who are incapable of this, and that’s perfectly fine, they still have a whole back-catalog of material.
Back when New Found Glory’s self-titled album was released there weren’t many that gave it a chance to be one of the building-blocks for an entire genre. However, in hindsight, it appears as though that disc may have had more of an impact than anyone ever could have guessed. While Coming Home may not have the same catalystic result (pun intended), and it isn’t the best album ever (much like their ST), it most certainly has the qualities that could make it a classic in time.