Consistency is one of the first words that comes to mind when thinking of pop-punk veterans (A) New Found Glory. Over their ten years as a band, NFG has released some of the most seminal records (Sticks and Stones, New Found Glory) that have shaped the current punk scene and spawned countless lesser clones. With their new EP, Tip of the Iceberg, NFG has decided to indulge themselves and release an extremely short collection of faster and more hardcore inspired tracks.
Tip of the Iceberg contains three new original tracks and three covers of tunes by Gorilla Biscuits, Shelter and Lifetime. The three new songs are fresh, intense and yes, short. They have solid riffs and great breakdowns that NFG has become known for. As for the covers, the best thing I could say is that the novice listener would easily mistake them for originals. As previously noted, past success and label freedom has allowed the band to do as they please at the crossroads of their career. This EP is a drastic departure from Coming Home but a harkening back to their roots. It is hard to say whether Tip of the Iceberg is just a one off or something they needed to get out of their system. For the answer, we might need to look no further than the title of the EP.
As for the International Superheroes of Hardcore, I’m confused and disappointed. The band is supposedly the alter egos of NFG with Chad Gilbert and Jordan Pudnik switching roles as singer and guitarist. My main gripe is with the packaging. Taking It Ova’ was included with Tip of the Iceberg to create a double CD package. While the two records are marketed as two completely independent releases from two different bands, Boston hardcore label Bridge 9 Records decided to bundle the two together to obviously make more money, charging about $12 for both together rather than $5 for each sold separately.
At first listen the music on Takin’ It Ova’ is decent and sounds like your typical short hardcore songs. The lyrics will make you smirk with songs like “Ebay Revenge” and “Madball’s Got Our Back” but quickly loses their initial charm. Chad Gilbert clearly has Pete Wentz syndrome: a secondary band member coveting the spotlight and doing everything they can to outshine their true lead singer. By assuming the vocals role (and a silly alias like Captain Straight Edge), Chad shows that yes, he can scream and be a hardcore singer but has no talent for lyrics. The main problem is that I can’t tell whether this is serious or not. The music sounds OK but the lyrics sound like Tenacious D. If Gilbert really wanted to front a hardcore band and have the spotlight shine brightest on him, wouldn’t he write better songs than “Screamo Gotta Go?” If ISHC is as big a joke as their website then fine, come out and say it. While NFG weren’t as savvy as Green Day and their side project, they’ve at least done something that they believe in and I can’t fault them for that.
Bottom line, buy the Tip of the Iceberg tracks on iTunes. The International Superheroes of Hardcore need to spend more time in the studio and less time trying to save the world of spin kicks and mosh pits.