Man Overboard is the type of band that Drive-Thru Records would have drooled over once upon a time. They fit tightly into the net of bands that includes New Found Glory, The Starting Line, Hellogoodbye, Adelphi, Allister, and many more of the early 2000s pop punk sensations. The New Jersey based quintet seems to be picking up right where the pop punk trend lost its step. On October 27, 2014, the group released a new and mostly acoustic EP entitled Passing Ends. It was engineered and produced by singer Nik Bruzzese, mixed by Will Yip, and released through Rude Records, and Lost Tape Collective.
This EP shows signs of maturity, growth, and prowess. Sharing the typical themes that have come to be expected in a genre aimed at a younger generation such as love and loss. One thing that sticks out is the song that bids —goodbye and so long— to the singer Nik Bruzzese’s father, whom passed away March 1, 2014. It is entitled “For Vince” and it is full of all the emotions that one would come to expect. Bruzzese shows some lyrical imagery as he paints a vivid image that only someone who has dealt with loss could understand. “We just need some more time / I’m not ready for goodbye / but I knew it was coming / felt it deep inside me / I could hear you whisper / will you be by my side / I’m not ready for goodbye / I came up empty / with nothing left to show / now I’m sitting here on main street / trying to find my way back home / with the effort of all the things I know / sitting here on main street / trying to find my way back home / and I’m feeling like I owe you one.”
The rest of the album is pretty solid overall, but nothing quite as good, as powerful or paints quite as vivid a picture as “For Vince” does. There are some intimate moments, there are some bursts of energy, and some darker themes overall. As a progression for the band, they have really shown some serious growth. The once boys have all become men, and that much is clearer now than ever. This writer believes, that this is some of the best material the band has put out to date. However, in the realm of pop punk music, it is safe to say that their greatest material has yet to come. Much like Take Off Your Pants and Jacket was a foreshadowing for Blink-182’s Untitled album, Passing Ends seems to have sparked their darker side of punk rock.
Man Overboard did a great job, this album was different, and it was better than their previous releases. It’s an EP that is easy to listen to more than once, and it is short enough to keep a listener’s attention. I would consider this EP to be a stepping stone towards the future, it is better than ever, but it wasn’t amazing. Truly, this in an EP that is worth listening to and purchasing. Old school fans of pop punk trying to revitalize an old love will fall right into place with them. Current fans of the band will probably have mixed feeling for a little while, but that only comes with the territory of growth and change. Bands evolve just as people do, the best advice for a listener to keep enjoying music, is to grow with the bands you love, instead of growing away from them.
Man Overboard’s Passing Ends can is now available on iTunes. For more information on the album and for tour dates, you can check out their website here. FDRMX followed up with Nike Bruzzese to talk about the album here.