Man Overboard – Heart Attack

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Man Overboard

Heart Attack - Rise Records

When it comes to opinions on early 00’s pop-punk, there’s somewhat of a love it or hate it attitude out there.  I’m not talking about albums that 90’s bands like Green Day released in the early 00’s, but rather the Taking Back SundayThe Starting Line and Saves The Day brand of pop punk that emerged early that decade.  Recent resurgences like The Wonder Years seem to have upheld a certain quality, and furthered the mature side of those acts for present audiences.  But there are also those that truly relish the juvenility of the old guard; the ones that make no excuses, playing pop-punk exactly like they remember it ten years ago – those like New Jersey’s Man Overboard.

You’d think such a prospect would appeal to those who grew up in this scene, but if you’ve matured over the past decade, then chances are that your taste in music has as well – or at least you’ve started connecting with lyrics that reflect greater worldly experience.  This mostly explains the rise of pop-punk acts likeThe Wonder Years but also calls into question the need for stagnant acts like Man Overboard.  Now in its fifth year, the upbeat quintet offers up its third full length, Heart Attack, a dismal reminder of Man Overboard’s shallow track record.

Heart Attack aligns itself with the most immediate and systemic pitfall of pop-punk: the underdog identity.  Now, I’m all for endearing outcast anthems, but when every second track plays like a look-at-me-now letter to a past crush, and the remainder about generic girl trouble and a lack of self confidence, the words lose their meaning.  Just listen to the chorus of “Boy Without Batteries,” “One of these days you’ll stop pretending, I was only someone you could find a friend in… you didn’t kiss me I felt rejected… and if you missed me you missed your chance with, the dirty little freak nobody wanted to dance with,” and you haveMan Overboard in a nutshell.  And that’s one of the few tracks with a semi-memorable chorus; otherwise you’re stuck with the unremarkable content of “Where I Left You” or the title track.  Sadly though, it’s almost better when the lyrics fly past inconsequentially; otherwise you’re stuck listening to the words of whinny teenage boys as per “White Lies.”  “Why is nobody alone but me? What is it that everyone else has? A spine? A mind? And I’m just not like them” – in a word, cringeworthy.

The instrumental accompaniment sounds every bit as flat.  It would be easy for someone to mistake these tunes as “catchy,” but that would be neglectful of just how annoying they are.  The case is simple; Man Overboard is like All Time Low, not New Found Glory or Yellowcard.  In fact, I would go as far as comparing these guys to the ever-shameful All American Rejects.  Worse yet, their slogan “defend pop punk” has a young audience fooled into citing Man Overboard as up and coming pop-punk saviors.  Perhaps they are for a younger demographic.  But for those of us that know differently, they’re just part of that same annoying trend that never seems to die.