Neck Deep - A History Of Bad Decisions (Self-released EP)


Neck Deep have an incredible knack for building intelligent vocal melodies that sink deeper into your brain than Mariana’s Trench. In such a short space of time the five boys from Wrexham/Manchester have made waves in the underground scene where many would only have expected the tiniest of ripples. Previous work ‘Rain In July’ grabbed the attention and turned the heads of thousands and even clinched them a support slot for Me Vs Hero at the tail end of last year. This time around, the band have released a short three track EP that picks up where they left off.

‘Up In Smoke’ wastes no time racing into action, with vocalist Ben Barlow cleverly wrapping his lyrics around the music in a way that ebbs and flows so effortlessly. It’s another song aimed at a loved one, focusing on letting them down, despite the best of intentions and the feeling of being a colossal fuck up. The themes and topics covered may be a little cliché but they are worded in such a way that it doesn’t matter in the slightest.

Track two is the highlight of the trio. You get that impression right from the get go. From the excellent musicianship of guitarists Matt West and Lloyd Roberts to another shining example of song writing from Ben Barlow, ‘Tables Turned’ is a winner through and through. A little over two minutes in you get a small insight into just what the band may have been listening to when writing these songs. A short widdling guitar riff appears that bears a similarity to American Football or something Tim Landers (Tranist/Misser) would jot down.

‘Head to the Ground’ is the most surprising track of the three. For starters, it’s the only song to include acoustic guitars. It’s soft and seductive, building on the solid foundation they put together with ‘A Part of Me’ - a video that’s clocked up 100,000 views on Youtube. But, midway through, the feeble acoustic structure is ripped out and replaced with a solid, sturdy frame of distorted Telecasters and crashing cymbals. With lyrics like “Run for your train or you might miss it, but I know I’d miss you more…” Barlow is able to capture emotions many of us are all too familiar with.

This three track sample of what Neck Deep are capable of is nothing short of sheer brilliance. For such a young band they have established their sound quickly and run with it. Neck Deep by no means reinvent the pop punk wheel, but what they have done is create the quintessential pop punk sound. You could easily give this EP to a musical n00b, lock them in a room for an hour and they’d emerge completely clued up on the genre. Its ingredients include every element you’d expect to find on a great pop punk release: catchy choruses, songs about love and loss, up-tempo thumping drums and intelligent guitar riffery. The only downside is that it leaves you in the lurch, begging for a bucket load more. 

Rating: 5/5

Words by: @iHateLiamBaxter

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