Album review: ‘Wishful Thinking’ by Neck Deep

Formed in their bedrooms and sensationalised by the internet in 2012, signed to Hopeless Records in 2013, 2014 has seen the release of Neck Deep’s first full length album Wishful Thinking.  Although new on the pop punk scene and only young themselves, Neck Deep add a refreshing dimension to a somewhat overcrowded genre.

The album opens with a track called ‘Losing Teeth’ which sets a general precedent for the majority of the album. Their passive aggressive lyrics are brilliant enough to make any fan nostalgic about their teenage years and more particularly, their teenage angst.  Wishful Thinking has an anthem-like quality that can satisfy anyone looking for a fun album that evokes a lot of fist pumping energy.

Each song lasts no longer than the three minute mark, leaving no room for error throughout the record. Neck Deep succeed in delivering impeccable transitions between each song. This is not an album of single tracks simply thrown together; this album has a sensuous development throughout its entirety.

Tracks such as ‘Growing Pains’  ‘Damsel In Distress’ and ‘Sweet Nothings’ exemplify that Neck Deep are concerned with more than the superficial fun that is often associated with pop punk. Opting for emotionally profound lyrics, Neck Deep expose a sweet sentimentality throughout the record. With only two previous EPs under their belts, Wishful Thinking is an incredibly polished and mature first album release.

Fast tempo, upbeat rhythms and exquisite guitar riffs reign supreme throughout Wishful Thinking. For those who want to listen to the essence of such a wide spanning genre, tracks including ‘What Did You Expect?’ and ‘Say What You Want’ hit the nail on the head. Neck Deep remain loyal to familiar pop punk trends within their instrumental arrangements. However, while this may satisfy old time fans looking for new music, Neck Deep fall into a tricky situation. The beginning of ‘Zoltar Speaks’ immediately echoes the beginning of  Sum 41’s ‘Pain For Pleasure’ suggesting that Neck Deep still have a while to go to establish their authenticity.

The best track is indeed saved for last. Closing track ‘Candour’ entails a beautifully sincere portrayal of vocalist Ben Barlow’s abilities. Complemented by Laura Whiteside’s backing vocals, fans of Neck Deep will immediately be reminded of ‘A Part Of Me’ which features on their ‘Rain In July’ EP. ‘Candour,’ in comparison to the rest of the album, is both delicate and haunting. The record ends with a few simple piano notes, finally rendering the listening experience of Wishful Thinking as sublime.

NP Candour, Neck Deep:


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