New Found Glory
Why does America produce so many punk-rock bands? Answers on the back of a postcard please, but in the meantime here is the latest release from Florida band New Found Glory. Currently on a huge tour of their homeland, they'll be in the UK from late November and previously had both single and album chart success back in 2002.
Those who are familiar with the earlier work of NFG are in for a shock, because this is no longer the same group of young men who sang about being "Dressed To Kill" or choosing "My Friends Over You". Beginning in more relaxed fashion than expected, "Oxygen" is a grand love ballad, serious in tone but retaining the group's ability to produce a catchy hook. Perhaps the biggest evolution for the band is that vocalist Jordan Pundik no longer has a whiney voice, instead now singing in a considered manner which makes his emotions far more believable. Far from being a one-off experiment, these are actually the characteristics to the album, with "Hold My Hand" adding a bouncy piano line and handclaps and title-track "Coming Home" featuring a big chorus that begs for a sing-a-long.
Those dismayed that NFG have a new direction shouldn't be completely disappointed as "Love And Pain" hints at their older style. However, it is out-numbered easily by the power ballads that are "On My Mind", "Make Your Move" and "When I Die" - the latter of which has a sweeping string section. While possibly a few tracks too long, there's nothing on the record that immediately needs to be skipped. Like Blink 182 before going on hiatus and more recently The All-American Rejects, New Found Glory have allowed their music to mature, resulting in a surprisingly enjoyable album.