The title of New Found Glory’s newest full length album suggests that they might be losing the pop punk battle with the newer, more neon scene bands of today. Even though the title is pulled from a lyric to the album opener “Right Where We Left Off,” the shot across the bow almost seems unnecessary. New Found Glory have always been one of the most consistent bands for the past ten years and prove again that they will always stay true to themselves, rocking and giving the fans what they want in the same circle pit.
Many have called Not Without a Fight a return to form for NFG. After a brief detour on 2006’s Coming Home, arguably their best, most cohesive effort of their career, the band has evolved rather than returned to their roots. For those who are dumb and need a blatant comparison, NWAF is a combination of Sticks and Stones and the Tip of the Iceberg EP. On Not Without a Fight, which was produced by Blink182 bassist Mark Hoppus, NFG have traded catchy chorus and down-picking for double bass breakdowns and half-time hooks. Songs like “Don’t Let Her Bring You Down,” “I’ll Never Love Again” and “Such a Mess,” while similar in headbanging bounce, all rock and will translate to instant favorites in their live show. “Truck Stop Blues” and “Listen To Your Friends” show that the band hasn’t lost a step and prove that straight ahead arrangements and solid songwriting always top style and gimmicks.
Not Without a Fight isn’t a pop punk opus though. All the songs I’ve mentioned above are on the first half of the record and while the songs are solid on the second half, each with favorable moments, they feel like somewhat like uninspired filler (see: “Tangled Up”). Steve Klein’s lyrics are on par with past efforts and Jordan’s voice is nasally as always but you won’t be quoting any verses on Facebook anytime soon and the guys seem to rely more on gang vocal shouts than creative melodies.
The album isn’t an instant classic but will probably appreciate with time. Even though the band never really went anywhere, it’s good to have NFG back proving that they are the undisputed champions of pop punk.