Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Neck Deep – In Bloom

“neck deep in bloom”: a Welsh pop-punk band and their single, and also a bit of prose to borrow…


Alex Clifton: Is it 2005? Have we a Welsh version of Yellowcard on our hands? While lacking perhaps some more of the more skillful lyrical precision I like in pop-punk (see also: all of Pete Wentz’s wordplay, Jesse Lacey’s searing and intimate agony), this is a nice little tune. A relationship breaks apart at the roots while we’re treated to a deceptively upbeat, catchy melody–the best trait of pop-punk. There’s also a fine bit of guitarwork in the middle eight. I can’t say that I’d be able to blindly pick Neck Deep out of a lineup of ’00s pop-punk bands after hearing this one song, but they do their thing well enough.

Edward Okulicz: What a museum piece this is — mall-pop-punk smack bang in the middle of Yellowcard and Funeral For a Friend — and yarled and played with such enthusiasm, escalating subtly to a friendly shoutalong.

Alfred Soto: No one would have blinked twenty years ago if this neat pop-punk had duly peaked at #8 on the modern rock chart and disappeared until its eventual appearance on a ’90s one-hit-wonder comp. Thus the strange phenomenon of a song twice worthy of mind wipe.

Tim de Reuse: Presumably, some kind of musicological study in faithfully reproducing that brand of emo-pop-punk that echoed through every American mall in the mid-aughts. Considered on that level, it’s impressive — they nailed the astringent guitar tone, the snappy, barely-present drums, and the straining, tense vocal harmonies. I can’t fathom any reason for this song’s existence other than historical interest! It sticks far too rigidly to a formula that popular culture thoroughly exhausted ten years ago, and while its execution is competent within that framework, it makes no convincing argument as to why the listener shouldn’t just stick with the bands that it’s so faithfully ripping off.

Hannah Jocelyn: My high school history teacher became a fan of Chvrches because, to paraphrase him, it revived an ’80s sound by only taking the best parts of acts from that era. I feel a similar way about this song and early 2000s pop-rock, taking the “voice inside my yedddd” and leaving “catching things and eating their insides”; taking “if I could find you now, things would get better” and leaving the dated sound of Yellowcard’s verses. The lyrics are mature in the way they play around with irony (“I can do this on my own” followed up with the insistence that “This will be the last time… I wanna crawl to bed”) and half-advocate for introverted processing, regardless of whether that’s the right thing to do. What really pushes this over the edge is seeing the credits; Neal Avron has worked with the two bands I mentioned, and getting the king of that sound to mix your pop-punk pastiche is inspired.

Ryo Miyauchi: The chorus and verses could be two separate songs, both suitable for Neck Deep’s zippy yet super-earnest power-pop, for better or for worse. The finger-pointing in the chorus could have made yet another entitled brat punk song if given a set of whiny lyrics to follow. But it’s the sincere embrace and the confrontation of neurosis in the verses that makes “In Bloom” as good as this genre can make.

Eleanor Graham: Wild how this instantly transformed me into a 14-year-old kid standing in the road with my bike in my clapboard Malcolm In The Middle neighbourhood, watching the girl I liked wander off into the dappled September-afternoon light. Lucky how it falls into a chorus melody strong enough to make me forget how annoying it is, how there’s just enough guitar to fill my head, how my brain chemistry is no match for those piano touches. By turns obnoxious and infectious, brattish outburst and perfect catharsis — unpredictable, but in the end, right.

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One Response to “Neck Deep – In Bloom”

  1. if I may use an oft-spoken sentiment, holy shit ELEANOR