New Found Glory: Not Without A Fight Review

New Found Glory has consistently pumped out delightfully catchy pop punk albums over the course of their career, but because the quality of those albums is so similar, sometimes one falls just a bit short of the high mark set by its predecessors. Such is the case with Not Without A Fight, the band’s sixth record, which certainly provides plenty of entertaining and enjoyable moments, but ultimately doesn’t quite stack up to anything else in New Found Glory’s discography. Jordan Pundik’s nasally vocals are as fitting for the genre as ever, while the same spirited guitar riffs and boisterous drumming that have defined the band for years all return, but a significantly less appealing second half of the album makes Not Without A Fight one of New Found Glory’s most inconsistent efforts. Its first half shouldn’t be missed however, with some truly stellar tracks lending themselves to a future “The Best Of NFG” compilation. But when all is said and done, this album isn’t quite up to par with Catalyst or the rest of the band’s more engaging work.

Standout Tracks

While many of New Found Glory’s songs focus on relationships and romance, not all of them are positive as “Don’t Let Her Pull You Down” proves. Ian Grushka’s deep bass hooks and Cyrus Bolooki’s drum bursts characterize this song but the shouted backup vocals of “Don’t! Let! Her!” make Pundik’s pitch-perfect declarations of “Don’t let her pull you down” all the more righteous, keeping with the album’s themes of ruined romances.

Although the latter half of Not Without A Fight comes up short, “Listen To Your Friends” is without a doubt one of the finest and most enjoyable songs New Found Glory has ever done. Its catchy and amusing premise and the lightheartedly fervent guitar riffs of Chad Gilbert and Steve Klein make it an instant classic, especially once Pundik crushes each and every catchy chorus: “Just then I found a note in my pocket / It read, ‘I don’t ever wanna see you again’ / And I guess that’s why I don’t remember the rest of the night / I should have listened to my friends / I should have listened to them when they told me you had bad intentions.” This incredibly energetic and fun song in the same spirit of “My Friends Over You,” like the majority of the album, serves as a pleasant reminder of why New Found Glory is such a consistently terrific pop punk group.

However, not all of Not Without A Fight is so pleasantly pessimistic, as “Truck Stop Blues” presents the life of a musician (or trucker) on the road and the yearning for home and loved ones that goes with it. The frantic riffs and drumming of each verse slow down for Pundik to deliver an agreeably slower, head-bobbing chorus. This isn’t the best that Not Without A Fight has to offer, but songs like this speak volumes about the band’s ever-increasing maturity.

The Verdict

From the opening notes of “Right Where We Left Off,” New Found Glory establishes that they are frontrunners of the pop punk genre with a new album that features memorable guitar riffs, a ton of energy and even more fun. With an upbeat and gratifying first half, this new record dazzles from the start. But Not Without A Fight also fails to hold the listener’s interest, suffering from a significant drop-off as the album nears its completion with uninteresting songs like the muddled “Such A Mess,” the bluesy “Heartless At Best” and the blah “This Isn’t You” attempting to close things off. However, considering New Found Glory’s admirable past discography, Not Without A Fight may be held up to an unfairly high standard, especially since this new album is better than half of what else pop punk else can offer. Fans of Four Year Strong, The Starting Line, Blink-182, Set Your Goals, Yellowcard, Green Day, Blink-182, Sum 41, Man Overboard, Senses Fail and The Wonder Years should be familiar with NFG’s similar style of worthy pop punk, which may not define Not Without A Fight, but certainly appears frequently enough to make it another solid entry.

Final Score: 6.7/10

Rank: 6th (seven total albums)

Track List

  1. Right Where We Left Off
  2. Don’t Let Her Pull You Down
  3. Listen To Your Friends
  4. 47
  5. Truck Stop Blues
  6. Tangled Up
  7. I’ll Never Love Again
  8. Reasons
  9. Such A Mess
  10. Heartless At Best
  11. This Isn’t You
  12. Don’t Let This Be The End

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  1. #1 by Fli. on October 23, 2012 - 9:28 am

    Fair comment dude, i remember listening to this and quite enjoying it, not as good as the self titled, or sticks and stones, but a solid album. also check out my Muse review. its up

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