It’s hard not to feel beaten over the head with meaning in the way that New Found Glory have named their albums in the later half of their career. When they released Coming Home in 2006 the band appeared to be gradually transitioning as their lifestyles and ages progressed. Then 2009’s Not Without a Fight changed gears – revealing a sped up, caffeinated version of the band that seemed hell bent of staying relevant. Now in 2014, the fact of the matter is that 15 years, a lot of adolescent emotions and the “A” at the beginning of their name have left New Found Glory en route to Resurrection (let’s ignore the 2011 snorefest that was Radiosurgery for the sake of conversation). as the album’s title hints, a new life is necessary to keep the youthful pop-punk scene interested in a mid-30s career band.
It’s important not to forget, however, that New Found Glory helped lay the groundwork for many of the slapdash new groups that are reeling in considerable attention. On Resurrection NFG’s strongest card is their chemistry, and their ability to balance their arrangements. Earlier albums showed heavy reliance on either songwriting (Coming Home) or dynamics (Catalyst, Not Without a Fight), but perhaps due to the shake up of the departure of long time member Steve Klein (the context of which is out of the scope of this review), they seem content to operate as a unit, rather than taking turns stepping forward. Because of this, Resurrection, seems logical as it progresses from one song to another. There are no curveballs, and consequently few standouts. Unfortunately, this causes the album to play long with monotony, as the chosen style stretches over 13 tracks.
Content-wise, New Found Glory mince no words on tracks like “Worst Person Ever”, a call-out/diatribe at a less than respectable friend and “Persistent”, a lament focused on not leaving a girl alone until she falls in love. Both are standard, tight arrangements, but tell stories that are hard to buy into due to their awkward candor. Rather than being the kind of soul-bearing release that draws empathy out of the listener, they are over-shared, undeveloped knee-jerk reactions. Elsewhere, “Stories of a Different Kind” shoots through a verse that would fit in on their 2000 self-titled album, as singer Jordan Pundik matches the tone with an address to the younger generations (“You’re acting arrogant like you made it / acting like the living dead / while I’m the one who’s alive instead”.) There’s something to be said for brash and forceful statements, but there are times that Resurrection seems almost forceably overt. “Vicious Love” is another such instance, when a spoken sample at the beginning of the track feels cheeky and forced; a sappy manifesto that is meant to be ironic in light of the song’s anti-romance lyrics.
Ultimately, Resurrection is a difficult album to pin down. For how tough to swallow tracks like “Persistent” are, New Found Glory can still pull together hits like “Degenerate” and “Stubborn” – punchy, concise tracks that are fueled by a combination of general snottiness and excitement. As far as reimagining the band’s identity, they stay close enough to their old material to feel familiar, and by the same token, to beg the question of what new hooks there are to grab new listeners. It’s true that Resurrection has some of their best tracks since Coming Home, but the album itself struggles to stay afloat when taken as a linear run of 13 songs.