After years of running on the major-label treadmill, New Found Glory seems to have found a fitting home at Epitaph. To those who’ve followed NFG’s career path, however, the title Not Without A Fight signifies something more than just rebounding on a new label. Even though 2006’s Coming Home won critical acclaim for its matured, nuanced songwriting, the album disappointed many NFG fans for just that reason. Not Without A Fight seems most likely to please this latter group—the Warped Tour generation that’s long been NFG’s bread and butter.
“Maturity” remains a guiding principle on Not Without A Fight—but only to the degree that NFG, now 10 years and six albums old, sounds strong, tighter, and more self-assured. On the album’s opening one-two punch—the dynamic pop/hardcore mind-meld “Right Where We Left Off” and the sing-along-baiting “Don’t Let Her Pull You Down”—the band strikes a keen balance between hard-hitting, soft-hearted, youthfully exuberant, and all grown up. The theme continues throughout, even as a couple of acoustic-guitar-led tunes threaten to slow the momentum. Even these songs give way to the loud-guitar/crunching-rhythm style that drives the rest of Not Without A Fight, demonstrating that, softening middle years be damned, New Found Glory still hits hard enough to matter.