Album Review: Man Overboard – “Heart Attack”

Man Overboard’s new LP Heart Attack is the sort of unabashed Jersey-breed pop-punk made for summer afternoons of driving  ‘down the shore.   With a strong nod to Taking Back Sunday and Saves the Day, the band has tightened on what makes their sound memorable.

Fans of other Man Overboard releases will not be disappointed.  Earworm-worthy hooks, catchy guitars, and dual sign along lyrics mesh together to create a string of songs reminiscent of the early 2000’s.  “You know what I think? You gotta live with regret” the track “Suppy” sings over a chorus of woahs.  “If I lose my mind, I’ll never be back again! Never give in, never give out.”

Traditional thematic elements of pop-punk/emo-inspired music are all on display here.  The love/hate relationships (“Shut your pretty mouth and let’s just go away together” proclaimed on “Hoodie Song”), insomnia incurred by teenaged experience (“It’s 2am but it feels like 5 and maybe it’s time to shut my eyes… I wish all my time was time spent together” on “ReRun”) and generalized yearning (“absolutely positively something I could never have” on “Open Season”) are all covered with an urgent honesty and thumping bass.   “Wide Awake” is a perfect album closer; it’s a slow wind down into communal signing and mellow, melodic sounds.   The tongue-in-cheek humor of bands like Blink 182 (after whom the band is named) is threaded throughout the album as well; listeners may wonder if song titles like “Boy without Batteries,” a song discussing treasured artifacts from lost loves, are referencing something… personal.

One criticism of the album as a whole is the lack of sonic diversity.  Each song sounds oddly similar to previous song.  While credit is deserved for spotting the elements to their sound which fans respond best to, there is no musical journey to be had over the course of the album.  It feels a bit as if Man Overboard has found their comfort zone and in doing so have shrugged off the possibility to create anything groundbreaking.

The release of this album has not been without its own drama.  Man Overboard gracefully recovered from a full album leak (by Spotify, of all parties), two weeks before the arranged date. Rather than pull all their music from the site, or take to the internet to pointlessly bitch, the band responded by streaming their own unreleased record on Bandcamp (in full!) and setting up a special album pre-order.  While not ideal for the band, this option is certainly a more professional way to handle a shitty situation than those methods opted-for by other musicians.

Man Overboard are currently on tour in Europe, and will join Warped Tour in the US this summer.  More information can be found on their website, here.

3.5/5 Stars

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