We last heard from New Found Glory in April 2019 with the newest installment in their From the Screen to Your Stereo covers series, and, spoiler alert, they were frozen but trying to let it go. Now the band with something called personality is back with plenty of original material to ignite your summer! Forever + Ever x Infinity is set to arrive on Friday, June 19, 2020, via Hopeless Records.
As you well know if you are reading this, Pop Punk’s New Found Glory (NFG) has been making high energy, infectiously fun music since 1997, when they came together in Coral Springs, Florida. In 1999, they released their debut, Nothing Gold Can Stay, but it was 2002’s Sticks and Stones, their third LP, that broke the band into the mainstream. With a grand total of nine studio albums to date, most recently 2017’s Makes Me Sick, the quartet has built an impressive name for themselves with raucous live shows that are guaranteed to put a smile on even the most dour face. And since their ethos has always been to be the friend you have always needed, who always understands, well, it’s safe to say that their legion of fans believe that these Floridians are doing just that!
Originally slated to be released on April 16th, but delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, New Found Glory’s latest, and triumphant tenth LP, Forever + Ever x Infinity, is finally here. For the disc, the band—Vocalist Jordan Pundik, Guitarist Chad Gilbert, Bassist Ian Grushka, and Drummer Cyrus Bolooki—continue to offer up everything that we have come to embrace about their sound, from heartfelt lyrics to the melodic optimism that keeps our toes bouncing. Produced by Steve Evetts (The Dillinger Escape Plan, Saves the Day), the 15-song album is a return to form, in some respects. Notes Gilbert: “This is the record our fans have been waiting for us to make. The old now feels new and fresh. It was a blast finding ourselves again.”
Forever + Ever x Infinity throws up the Metal horns via Gilbert’s guitars as the band kicks into “Shook By Your Shaved Head,” displaying their wonderfully infectious sense of humor. Lyrically, we witness fate bringing a couple who are ‘“meant to be” back together again—though it appears that the lady went a little mad in quarantine and did ‘a Britney.’ Next, they get more serious for “Greatest of All Time,” with Bolooki blasting his cohorts into the track’s fast pace. Here, what feels like a long-term love is compared to the Scottie Pippen era of the Chicago Bulls. So, we assume, one might say the relationship is a slam dunk? (Yes, roll your eyes.)
One of the album’s shining gems of comedic genius, “Double Chin For The Win” is guaranteed to make you giggle as it depicts a man who knows he’s not even in his lady’s league, but he has a self-deprecating sense of humor—and muffin top. Next, they dial it back to 2002 for the straight-up, infectious sonic rush of “Nothing To Say,” which is actually a critical look at those who intentionally sabotage friendships for a false sense of self-gain.
Similarly reminiscent of the band’s Sticks and Stones or 2004’s Catalyst eras, “Stay Awhile” is a peppy bop with fat bass licks courtesy of Grushka. Then, Metal guitars and stadium drums introduce “Himalaya,” where Gilbert offers some Hardcore fever as his bandmates break it down. Sadly, this heavier mood does not last long, and they return to being so stinking catchy on “Same Side Sitters,” two lovers so joyously “cringey” in love that they’re stuck together “like Gorilla Glue.”
The flipside of the coin, when it comes to matters of the heart, is “Like I Never Existed.” A track that, at surface value, sounds happy-go-lucky in that characteristic NFG way, it is actually an unrequited love that leaves Pundik and co. feeling like ghosts. Rising from the grave, twinkling guitars set the mood for the romantic, semi-acoustic ballad “More and More,” and the amore continues into “Do You Want To Settle Down?,” which cranks the energy to ten and presents a bouncy look at finding the (human) plot twist you’ve been searching for.
Much as it is throughout the album, that early NFG vibe is present in the self-explanatory “The Way You Deserve,” with its chugging guitars that lead into the galloping “Trophy.” And then they cycle back into witty terrain with the wonderfully-titled “Scarier Than Jason Vorhees At A Campfire.” Here, they yuck it up to remind listeners that, in love, unlike in Horror movies, the good guy does not always win. A track that already sounds warm and familiar, hopefully fans can expect a terrifyingly fun video to accompany this earworm.
Horror references aside, they begin to wind to a close with the sonic smile of “Birthday Song But Not Really,” a track for the lady that makes “it feel like my birthday everyday.” However, they ultimately make the choice to end on a heartfelt and poignant note with the showstopper “Slipping Away.” Initially an acoustic offering, the track builds into electrified choruses that narrate the tale of a relationship that is flowing like grains of sand through Pundik’s fingers. A reminder that you can’t make them love you if they don’t, it ends the collection on a bittersweet note.
It’s true, Forever + Ever x Infinity is pretty simple to grasp: an album about the varying facets of love and relationships that, even when times are tough, sounds like a Pop Punk dream. Combining emotional heft, romance, wit, and the wisdom of a band with over two decades beneath their collective belt, there’s a consistency to New Found Glory’s delivery that guarantees you will always enjoy their newest material. But that dependability comes at a slight price, and it would certainly be interesting to see NFG branch a little further. Because when they dig deep on tracks such as “Double Chin For The Win,” “Scarier Than Jason Vorhees At A Campfire,” or “Slipping Away,” they shine their absolute brightest, proving why they are the kings of charisma with immense heart. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Forever + Ever x Infinity 4 of 5 stars.