Never ones to stagnate, Neck Deep have gradually evolved from scrappy pop-punks to British alt rock stalwarts on their fourth record, ‘All Distortions Are Intentional’.
Whilst 2017’s ‘The Peace And The Panic’ hinted a more mature approach to composition, ‘All Distortions Are Intentional’ pushes their scope for ambition further, opting to tackle concept album territory.
Starting the record off with the one-two punch of ‘Sonderland’ and ‘Fall’, the Wrexham boys deliver two tracks tailor made for stadiums. Sweeping in its scope, the former uses Ben Barlow‘s snappy vocal delivery and a breakneck drum beat to ease us into wide guitars and acoustic flourishes. Committed the alt rock route, the latter plays with mid-tempo melodies and sing-along choruses, and whilst they could be polarising to purists, both tracks are a welcome addition to the group’s catalogue.
That being said, there are moments that wouldn’t be out of place on their previous records. This is shown with the snarling and swirling ‘Lowlife’ and the bouncing ‘Telling Stories’. With both tracks sitting alongside winding melodies and an infectious energy, Neck Deep show that the change in direction is a natural progression.
This is evident in ‘Quarry’ and following number ‘Sick Joke’. Swirling, direct, and hypnotic, ‘Quarry’ doesn’t outstay its welcome, and manages to unveil another layer to the group. Serving as a mid-record highlight, ‘Sick Joke’ represents the record perfectly by melding driving guitars and lush breaks as Ben Barlow‘s confessional lyrics top the track off.
As the record plays through, the group stretch their flexibility as various tones and shades weave throughout their soundscape. From the sweet and power pop driven ‘What Took You So Long’ to the defiant and pounding ‘I Revolve’, Neck Deep dig into a variety of sounds and techniques to push themselves further.
Closing with the anthemic ‘Pushing Daisies’, Neck Deep prove that they can match their ambition. Whilst it can be difficult for a group to move past their initial sound, ‘All Distortions Are Intentional’ shows that it can be done. Tightly structured and evolving without being contriving, Neck Deep have continued to elevate themselves.