New Found Glory
w/ Bayside, Set Your Goals, Shai Hulud
Wed. April 15
House Of Blues, Myrtle Beach
4640 Highway 17
To get a clue about the contrasts between Florida band New Found Glory's new album Not Without a Fight, and the band's previous release, Coming Home, all that's needed is a glance at the artwork of the two.
Coming Home's photos showed the group members dressed up with jackets and suit coats looking serious and introspective. It suggested an album that presented a more mature and thoughtful New Found Glory. The artwork fit the tenor of the songs, which were less frenetic musically, and lyrically offered a more poetic approach to exploring the dynamics of relationships.
By contrast, Not Without a Fight features cover art depicting two soldiers — a man and a woman, facing off in battle. Elsewhere, photos show the band in concert, jumping on stage, and cheering. The images will be familiar to those who have seen the band's high-energy live shows or associate the band with playful, catchy punk-pop.
The choices for the artwork on the two albums are no coincidence, according to New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert.
"For Coming Home, the packaging had a theme," he says. "It's a [home] stereo album, not something you drive around fast in your car listening to. With Not Without a Fight, we really, really wanted to hit home that these songs are live songs."
The new album brings back the playful energy that many associate with New Found Glory, as well as the lighter and more youthful outlook on love and relationships that had been a hallmark of the group. Gilbert says it isn't meant to be a throwback to an earlier era of the band.
With their more straight-ahead guitar rock sound, these songs give the album a nice contrast to songs that more closely fit the punkier mold of earlier work.
"Some of the songs on the new record are above any genre," Gilbert says. "Obviously, there are songs that are more like New Found Glory classics, but then there are the other songs that are more like modern rock. I think some go to new ground."
Not Without a Fight arrives at an interesting point in New Found Glory's career. Gilbert, singer Jordan Pundik, guitarist Steve Klein, bassist Ian Grushka, and drummer Cyrus Bolooki formed the band in 1997. They released two EPs and a full-length on the MCA-distributed label Drive-Thru before moving over to MCA (later absorbed by Interscope/Geffen) in 2000 for a self-titled album. That disc spawned a minor hit single in "Hit Or Miss," but it was on 2002's Sticks and Stones that they started to make major waves. It featured the modern rock hit "My Friends Over You," and surpassed the one million mark in copies sold.
2004's Catalyst failed to generate the same response, and Coming Home was a commercial disappointment.
Recent changes at Interscope/Geffen resulted in New Found Glory amicably parting ways with the label and signing to the punk-centric Epitaph label.
Gilbert says the energy of the new songs is already paying off in the live setting.
"Coming Home wasn't so much of a live album, so we didn't play too many of those songs," he says. "The songs on this record come off even more powerful live.
Once you hear them live, it will make you want to get them."