Review: New Found Glory - Tip of the Iceberg / International Superheroes of Hardcore - Takin' It Ova
Label: Bridge Nine
Released: April 29, 2008
This release finds the latest EP from pop-punks New Found Glory and a full-length from NFG side-project International Superheroes of Hardcore. Without a doubt, NFG are a band that could use a fresh start and a return to writing meaningful songs rather than the sap that made up their major label years. ISHC had a limited release that preceded this, but this is their first exposure to a broader world. So, both bands have something to prove.
NFG's Tip of the Iceberg EP certainly shows more heart than the band has exhibited since 1999's Nothing Gold Can Stay and for the first time, it's more punk than pop. While NFG members have been in these waters before, the band has never been here on record. Most of the songs still have a heavy dose of pop, but it doesn't drown the punk element like NFG have done for years.
The six songs on Tip of the Iceberg include three covers. NFG lighten up Gorilla Biscuits' "No Reason Why" to something akin to early 7 Seconds, but they're even more at home taking on one of Shelter's more melodic moments on "Here We Go Again." But every track, covers and originals alike, certainly has more substance than the band has had in quite some time.
ISHC waste no time separating themselves from NFG's lighter legacy. With a blistering pace and aggressive vocals, they lay down some serious East Coast hardcore grooves along the lines of Madball. It's not the most original work in the genre, but they could hold their own with all but perhaps the top handful of hardcore bands. It's full of heart-on-the-sleeve songs about the scene and the meaning of hardcore and what it means to really live the life. Still, they also exhibit a sense of humor on songs like "Screamo Gotta Go" and that's always refreshing in the all-too-serious world of hardcore.
Tip of the Iceberg/Takin' It Ova is an interesting packaging with pop-punk that hardcore fans can stomach and hardcore that won't scare the pop out of anyone. Both discs show bands at the top of their game and, for NFG anyway, that's somewhere they haven't been in a long time.
If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.