Neck Deeps’ Third LP, “The Peace and The Panic” just hit and although it’s not quite as good as their last album, “Life’s Not Out To Get You”, in a lot of ways. It’s better in some ways too. The lyrical content is deeper and the production is a little sharper.
Produced by Neal Avron and Mike Green, “The Peace and The Panic” sounds substantially better than anything the band’s put out to date. Everything sounds crisp and clean and the production – as it is with everything Avron has done – is pristine. With the band’s last album, the production sounds like it should. That album was supposed to sound raw. After all, it was an album from a young band performing songs about topics that fit who they were. That’s why the upped production works for this album, Ben Barlow is singing about his father’s death and inner turmoil. That type of subject matter is worthy of greater attention to detail in the studio. The lyrics from Barlow are gut wrenching, especially with context. “10 Seventy Sumthin’” is a song written from his father’s perspective and then from Barlow’s. It’s the best song that Neck Deep has done and it’s beautiful on multiple levels. Barlow’s whole game across this album is on point. He’s impressive here and he continues to excite and grow as a songwriter.
Neck Deep’s “The Peace and the Panic” falls short in one category from their previous album, the previous album is just a little catchier. There are better hooks on that album. That said, there’s better production and better lyrical content here. You could even say that the musicianship is better here too. Neck Deep’s “The Peace and The Panic” is an impressive outing and this should elevate their status in the pop punk scene from budding star to full-blown established act. These guys are good and this album is too.