Some bands are influential, innovative leaders, while other bands are tribute-paying followers. Then there is New Found Glory; a band that is both influential and tribute-paying. It would be silly to suggest that they invented the pop punk genre or that they helped invent it, because that simply is not true. What New Found Glory did accomplish was popularizing that sound that bands like the Descendants, Kid Dynamite and Green Day derived many moons ago.
Fast-forward to the present day.
New Found Glory has gone through a lot. After losing old fans and gaining new fans with Coming Home (their first departure from the core pop punk sound that made them so well known), they made an attempt to fall back to their roots with Not Without A Fight in 2009, a record that was hit or miss (lol NFG pun) among the public. Today, we have the band’s current product, Radiosurgery. Eleven tracks that succeed every place that Not Without A Fight failed, but fail every place that their self-titled record also failed.
Opener, and first single, “Radiosurgery” serves as a sub-par opener as Jordan Pundik’s cheesy lyrics sag along with the classic New Found Glory full power chords of Chad Gilbert and Steve Klein. The hook of “Radiosurgery” is acceptable, but overall the track won’t “wow!” people the way that previous NFG openers have.
Keep calm, my friends. It gets better.
Second track “Anthem For the Unwanted” should have been the opener, as Gilbert’s guitar and Pundik’s “Oh, oh, oh’s” would have been much more fitting to introduce the album. Sprinkled across the spectrum of Radiosurgery is everything any fan of the band will love. “Drill It In My Brain” is basically a better version of “Radiosurgery” as its sky-high chorus flaunts Pundik’s range while “I’m Not the One” and “Memories and Battle Scars” pay homage to the band’s earlier sound more so than any other song. These two tracks scream New Found Glory and Sticks and Stones as the latter includes a classic NFG breakdown.
The Motion City Soundtrack-esque “Dumped” and catchy “Summer Fling, Don’t Mean a Thing” feature grandeur verses and very singable choruses, cementing the realization that this is definitely another fresh release from an aging group.
Pretty much the only flaw of Radiosurgery as an entity is the overall lack of variety. Almost every song is an upbeat pop punk jam, which was also the only fault of their self-titled effort. The closest thing to an “I Don’t Wanna Know” or a “Sonny” on this record is the mid-tempo “Caught in the Act.” Though this track is catchy and enjoyable, it still lies faceless in the thick of the album and ultimately falls victim to the same fate as its infectious companions on Radiosurgery.
Even though every song is of similar tempo and/or structure, New Found Glory is a good example of a band that really is incapable of doing any wrong. Radiosurgery is definitely a good album, but with a pop punk masterpiece like Sticks and Stones in their catalog, everything else in their arsenal will automatically appear second tier.