Neck Deep’s “The Peace And The Panic” brings new life to pop punk

neck deep

Alex Mohr / Feature Writer

Welsh pop punk band Neck Deep has recently released its third studio record, “The Peace And The Panic,” following 2015’s “Life’s Not Out To Get You”. The new album signifies the band’s maturation through the years, from the first EP to the life the band members live now.

The record’s meaning is represented through the black and white 60’s-style Roy Lichtenstein-esque album art, which exhibits a businessman walking a tightrope, with a bright, harmonic futuristic metropolis to his left and a dark, catastrophic, fiery world destroyed by a nuclear bomb to his right. The significance of this is clearly tied to the title, where there has to be a balance of the good and the bad in life. A balance of peace and panic. An inevitable yinyang of happiness and hardship. Happiness being life, hardship being death.

“Lyrically it [the album] came out a lot of it being about death and how to deal with that sort of thing,” lead vocalist Ben Barlow said.

However one could not call this a depressing album, and Barlow explains that there is a positive undertone to every song.

“Generally there’s always a tone of positivity in our stuff and whether it’s kind of a sad song about death and questioning where you’re gonna go after you die, it does have this hopeful tone to it, like make the most out of your life before you go, which I think a lot of our fans do look for in our music,” Barlow said.

Barlow has had a difficult year due to the passing of his father in October. The grief-stricken frontman quit the band’s tour to be with his family during that time.

Many songs on this record make reference to his father, family, and the idea of death. The acoustic “Wish You Were Here” is a testament to his father’s passing, with the melodic chorus reading “’Cause a picture is all that I have / To remind me that you’re never coming back / If I picture it now it just makes me sad / And right now I just wish you were here.”

The track “Nineteen Seventy Somethin’” tells the story of Barlow’s family, from the day his parents met to the day his father died.

“Wish You Were Here” and “Nineteen Seventy Somethin” are two of the softest tracks on the album alongside “In Bloom”. These tracks diversify the album, which was what the band was going for.

However, Neck Deep didn’t make every song soft. Drummer Dani Washington wrote “Don’t Wait” based off of his love for heavy metal. The song takes a drastic turn from the soft acoustic chords of “Wish You Were Here.” The song features screams from Sam Carter, the lead singer for metalcore band Architects. It’s the heaviest track Neck Deep has released.

In all, this is the most mature Neck Deep album to date. The diversity of sound paired with the topics of family, death, past mistakes, life, and the government makes this pop punk album a must listen.

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