Review: Man Overboard – Before We Met: A Collection of Old Songs

Artist: Man Overboard
Album: Before We Met: A Collection of Old Songs
Genre: Pop Punk
Label: Panic

2010 is shaping up to be the year pop punk makes its triumphant return. We’ve already been graced with the best album in the genre for the past decade with The Wonder Years’ The Upsides and now, a widely unknown band by the name of Man Overboard has come to swoon guys and gals alike. By re-releasing their debut EP with 5 bonus tracks and joining Run For Cover Records, Before We Met: A Collection of Old Songs has come into the possession of the UTG Staff and we haven’t stopped listening since.

Now it’s a little hard to talk much about re-release, especially when it’s coming from a band so few people on a national scale know, but I feel some attention needs to be given to this release. Starting with the anthemic, “Love Your Friends, Die Laughing,” we’re introduced right away to the softer side of Man Overboard. Generally a pop punk act [much in the vein of The Wonder Years], this track, along with the equally pleasing “Arlington Drive” reveal a much more intricate and mature songwriting style that will surely speak to any young music fan. The group uses the light accompaniment along with quick wit and talk of late nights with friends, broken hearts, and growing up to strike a chord with their desired fan base and it all comes across as some of the most honest efforts at making a true connection to listeners in years. In every note sung you hear the awkward quiver of youth and the sly skill of a young, but developed songwriter meshing in sonic harmony and you can’t help being completely consumed.

It’s not all about the ballads [if you want to call them that]. Eight of the ten tracks on Before We Met showcase the full pop punk skill of the group and it does so with relatively solid results. While “The Real You” may seem a bit amateurish, the Juliana Theory like writing on “In Orbit” will make you forget anything less than spectacular has come through the speakers from this group. Likewise, “Disconnect” will remind us twenty somethings of early Brand New and “While You Were Sleeping” will surely have audiophiles digging out their Drive-Thru back catalog for comparison.

Man Overboard will surely be a force to reason with when their full length album hits this summer. Until then, all you latecomers like me should, no, NEED to find a copy of Before We Met: A Collection of Old Songs. Armed with a low recording budget and a lot of heart, these ten tracks more than justify the band’s new found label deal and display what may just be the groundwork for a long, iconic career. There’s a lot of potential here and you should do yourself a favor and hope on the bandwagon before it leaves you behind.

Score: 9.5/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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