Neck Deep Return To Their Pop-Punk Roots On Their New Self-Titled Album

Neck Deep's new self-titled album is available.
I'm Keali and I live in Brisbane. I love anything cats, country or metal, and I love a good moshpit. When I'm not behind the camera or writing, I am probably at band practice or reading with my cat and a cup of tea.

Neck Deep is back with their first album since 2022, returning to their authentic pop-punk roots with an emotionally-charged roller coaster, self-titled album 'Neck Deep'.

"There's breakup songs, there's songs about life, there's songs about your parents, there's songs about mental health," singer Ben Barlow says.

"Hopefully [the album can] be an arm around the shoulder in your worst times and a soundtrack to your best times too. It felt like we were kind of stuck in the mud a little bit, just like trying to get out of the post-COVID funk and get back to where we were."

Reconnecting with the very core of their artistic identity, Barlow eloquently emphasises the profound significance encapsulated within both the current album and the tapestry of their preceding musical endeavours.

"The record before this one ['All Distortions Are Intentional'] was like, quite drastically different. It was, you know, an experimental record. It was kind of going into like rock, old rock, kind of indie, little bits of pop punk here and there.

"People love us for being a pop-punk band, and that's the thing that we lent on for a long, long time – and it feels right to go back to that.

"So it really is kind of like a celebration of the band, and like, you know, I think us getting back to our best and doing what we do best and having a good time doing it basically."

Transitioning from Los Angeles to return to their Welsh home for the album's production, Barlow emphasises the importance of being in a place that feels most genuine and true to oneself – an impactful message for aspiring artists everywhere.

"My brother, Seb, who plays bass for us, produced and engineered the record, and we were in the studio every day.

"There's no outside influence, you know, because it was entirely our own decisions and our own intuition really that got the record made, but I think with that, we got the most Neck Deep sounding record that we could have got.

"It more comes from when we're sat down in a room writing together and whatever comes out and whatever pokes our ears up is kind of what we'll go for. We wanted to show what we're about and what we can do when we're left to our own devices, and write the record that we wanna write."

Listing a few of his favourite songs off the album, including 'It Won't Be Like This Forever' and 'We Need More Bricks', Ben truly understands the importance lyrics have on people and how their songs can feel like an arm around his fans shoulders.

"I also love the opening track, 'Dumbstruck Dumbf...'. I remember when we were writing that song and I was like, 'this is the root of how this record needs to sound'.

"I think fans, with our lyrics, look for a little arm around the shoulder, you know; maybe if they're struggling kind of figuring out how they're feeling sometimes, not just our music, but music in general is the best vehicle for that.

"Sometimes it can be a lightbulb moment when you hear a lyric that describes how you feel or even just something that, you know, the sonic nature of the song, like the instrumental can even make you feel something.

"So that's why music's a beautiful thing, and it's something that we've always; it's always been at the core of what we're trying to do.

"We just want good guitar tones, good drum sounds, maybe some cool, little synths here and there, but nothing was too crazy. It was all pretty [much done] in the box, done on an iMac and yeah, I think Seb is like the production wizard. I'm sure he maybe had a few little techniques here and there, and, you know, things that he decided to do.

"There's a few little vocoders and some strange textural layers in there. Maybe a few weird guitar tones too. Again, we kind of wanted to keep it simple, keep it straight to the point."

Much like the collective human experience, Ben underscores the importance of acknowledging personal struggles and taking the necessary steps to reach a space where one can once again engage in the pursuits they love.

"I was struggling writing lyrics and I'd been kind of scratching my head for a few days on a couple of songs and had made next to no progress with a couple of songs, and it was really tough. I was really beating myself up about it, I was getting stressed. I was like walking home early from the studio because I wasn't getting anywhere.

"I had a little introspection and expanding my thinking a little bit, pulled myself out of my funk and literally got home – it sounds cliche as f... but I was like, 'I'm writing two songs tonight,' and got home, wrote two songs effortlessly [and] felt really, really good about them – and that was a bit of a turning point I think, because I realised 'ah, okay, cool. Two songs in the bag in one night. I know where we're going.' From there, lyric writing got a little bit easier for the record for sure."

Ben and his band standout in their genuine appreciation and profound understanding of the connection fans share with Neck Deep and their music.

This underscores why their latest record transcends being merely a musical piece; it's an emotional odyssey featuring relatable lyrics, pop-punk beats, and a poignant reminder that, ultimately, pursuing what brings you joy and fulfilment is of paramount importance.

"If anyone's been a fan for a long time thank you, you've been a part of this journey – and you know, this band, I've grown up with this band and this band has saved my life in a lot of ways too, but if you're just hearing about Neck Deep for the first time now, then welcome. Welcome to the party."

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