REVIEW: New Found Glory – ‘Resurrection’

Artist: New Found Glory
Album: Resurrection
Label: Hopeless
Genre: Pop-Punk

When all is said and done, New Found Glory’s Resurrection could go down as 2014’s most appropriately titled release.

By forging an unmistakable signature sound that has inspired countless imitators and relentlessly touring with their consistently powerful and energetic live show, New Found Glory has become one of the most respected bands in their scene. But it would be safe to assume the past year has been the most difficult of the band’s 17-year career, enduring the departure of founding guitarist and songwriter Steve Klein. The band’s lineup had been stable since 1997, but much worse than Klein’s departure are the controversial circumstances surrounding it.

New Found Glory was left for dead with a soiled reputation, but ultimately decided to soldier on as a four-piece. And while I suppose it would be easy for a band eight albums into their career to get back into the studio and churn out a dozen catchy new pop-punk tunes to take on the road alongside their already extensive catalog of hits, New Found Glory has never done things the easy way and they aren’t the slightest bit interested in becoming a nostalgia act. But what in the hell does New Found Glory sound like as a four-piece? How is that even going to work?

All questions are quickly answered as the record opens with “Selfless,” featuring one of the meatiest riffs of guitarist Chad Gilbert’s career. And with lyrics proclaiming “if you haven’t made enemies, then you’ve never stood for anything,” it’s clear the band has a massive chip on their collective shoulder.

Gilbert’s hardcore-leaning riffing is a theme throughout the record — to the point that you wonder if he took it upon himself to pick up most, if not all, of the songwriting slack created by Klein’s absence. Gilbert is now the guitarist in New Found Glory, and the thick, crunchy guitar tone he employs on the record is not only the sound of a man determined to prove the band doesn’t need another guitar player, but one who is reveling in the opportunity to make this record a massive personal statement.

With a few exceptions (“Ready & Willing,” “Vicious Love”) the album lacks the polished hooks of their classic albums. Resurrection instead has an unexpected meanness and aggression, as the band’s hardcore influence rears its ugly head (hey, I mean that as a compliment!) more than on any of the band’s previous releases, save for the Tip of the Iceberg EP. The band went as far as enlisting in the services of Terror’s Scott Vogel to make the chugging title track’s final breakdown even more emphatic.

“Selfless” has been getting festival crowds going since August, but the group has said they wanted every song on this album to translate live. And if we’re judging the album on those terms, it’s a winner.

“The Worst Person” has the look of a future setlist staple, from an intro that could displace “Truth of My Youth” as the set’s token circle pit igniter, to its bouncy breakdown and gang-vocal laden chorus. Slow burner “Angel” is the band’s most directly cathartic track since Coming Home and will undoubtedly inspire some massive singalongs, if not full-on crowd rushing for the opportunity to belt out “I’m no angel” alongside frontman Jordan Pundik.

On an album filled with high points, “Stubborn” is its highest peak. It’s a classic mid-tempo New Found Glory anthem with a darkened edge, as Pundik and guest vocalist Anthony Raneri (Bayside) air their shame and regret over a missed opportunity while Gilbert even throws in a quickie guitar solo out of the Social Distortion playbook.

Ric Flair always said, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.” And 17 years into their career, there’s still no one doing pop-punk better than New Found Glory. With Resurrection, they’ve recovered from a massive blow by countering with a record that shows they’re still hungry, driven and never feeling entitled. Never mind the fact that these men are now in their mid-30s. They know they still have something to prove if they want to continue sitting atop that throne. You get the feeling they’ll never forget that. And that’s why they aren’t going away anytime soon.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Kevin Blumeyer (follow him on Twitter)

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2 Responses to “REVIEW: New Found Glory – ‘Resurrection’”

  1. SteveDoninger says:

    This is the album of the year guys! It’s so incredible. I’ve had it on repeat for 3 days now. Just so good.

  2. K. Bennett says:

    I am blown away by this album. It is fantastic. This is by far their best album in a long time. Not since Catalyst or Sticks & Stones have they put out an album that I feel like I will be jamming as much as this one. (Let it be known, I listened to Coming Home a crazy amount, probably more than a lot of people, but it is its own creation.) I thankfully got to see these guys back on the Pop Punk’s Not Dead tour (What a fantastic lineup!)… This album makes me want to see them again more than ever.