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Album review: New Found Glory's 'Not Without a Fight'

March 9, 2009 |  6:05 pm

Newfound After a lengthy major-label stint that turned New Found Glory into one of the biggest bands on the supersaturated pop-punk scene, this Florida fivesome has returned to Indieville for its new studio disc, which Epitaph boss Brett Gurewitz has said he agreed to release before the group had even recorded a single note.

Of course, such commitments carry little risk when you're dealing with a known quantity, and the members of New Found Glory have never given any indication that they're dissatisfied with their creative cubbyhole. Unlike the recent Epitaph debut by Thursday, another major-label refugee, "Not Without a Fight" is far from an artistic bloodletting; these guys sound more enthused than ever about their three favorite chords.

Perhaps that's because writing songs about mean girls and true friends now offers an escape from the complexity of adult life rather than a means of imagining oneself inside it. Throughout these dozen tracks, frontman Jordan Pundik describes romantic messes that aren't especially messy, while guitarists Chad Gilbert and Steven Klein bash out fuzzy riffs as precisely calibrated as computer beats.

Producer Mark Hoppus (of Blink-182) helps the band remove all the air from the music, but the effect isn't stifling, it's reassuring. With no leeway available, it's not possible for the train to come off the tracks. The result is adolescence reconfigured as a highlight reel.

-- Mikael Wood

New Found Glory
"Not Without a Fight"
Two and a half stars