After the vast success of 2010 release Real Talk, a lot was riding on the success of Man Overboard’s 2012 self-titled release, and it divided a whole fan base into two polar opposites. While it is obvious through the precision, both technically and lyrically, within the album that Man Overboard have matured and have released an album that speaks of more than girls, drugs and pizza; others argue that this record fell short of the mark, lacks the passion, anguish and all over silliness that Man Overboard have become known for.
Right from the off, title track Rare shoots a heavy dose of punk styling’s straight into the listeners ear and gives the impression this is how the album shall continue: fast, no holds barred, visceral pop punk, though that could not be more wrong. This song flows effortlessly into second track Teleport that shows the isolated vocals and guitar parts in which Pop-punk is infamous for, not to mention talk of poems, exes and teenage broken hearts, though this song seems to lack aforementioned passion towards this subject seemingly defusing the energy from title track.
Other key tracks include that of Dead End Dreams, containing similar rhythmical stylings as the Godfathers of pop punk, New Found Glory, though this may not come as a shock as NFG guitarist Steven Klein was the producer of this release, further instilling this albums pop-punk credibility.
Bonus tracks on this album contain arguably the bands most recognizable single Love Your Friends, Die Laughing, the soundtrack to anybodies life and once listened to, proceeds to consistently loop in one’s head. An acoustic song in which the band pull off flawlessly, shows complete unity with not only vocalist Zac Einstein singing, but the whole band as one giving the effect of a whole bands collective feelings and thoughts projected at a listener evoking strong understanding.
Other bonus tracks include live versions of Real Talk and virtually unknown song, Not the First, which encapsulate the sheer energy and enthusiasm put into a Man Overboard song, though sound quality is not at its best which is a poor show for a re-issued album. Acoustic track turned electric Dear You sounds slightly lack-lustre, which is a crying shame for such a beautiful and moving song, though bearable to any hardcore pop punk fan.
As a pop punk fan, I would say any listener could carry on without listening to this album, though it is a valiant effort from the New-Jersey boys and shows great control and technical skills on their part, though doesn’t quite live up to Real Talk.