New Found Glory’s 1999 debut, Nothing Gold Can Stay, snuck beneath the radar to become a massive influence on the new millennium’s eruption of emo-soaked pop-punk. Since then, the Florida outfit has miraculously retained the same five members, the same steady pace of releases, and the same bouncy/bittersweet dynamic. It’s also stuck religiously to its chunky, melodic sound, and the new Radiosurgery is no different. That said, the group’s sixth full-length is the first since frontman Jordan Pundik and crew entered their 30s, and it’s starting to show. While steeped in New Found Glory’s same old mix of hormonal angst and simple syrup, the album shows a marked drop in metabolism.
While contemporaries like Thursday and AFI, for better or worse, have indulged in all kinds of stylistic tangents, New Found Glory has never strayed farther from its roots than it does on the plodding power-pop of Radiosurgery’s self-titled opener. The track is a paean to the catchiness of pop radio that’s all too easy to believe, considering the messenger. But where 2009’s Not Without A Fight had a hint of a bite, Radiosurgery shows all the signs of tooth decay. Pundik’s vocals are softened by too many harmonies, and songs like “Summer Fling, Don’t Mean A Thing” and “Caught In The Act”—the latter sporting bland guest vocals by Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino—dumb down what was already an elementary formula. Asking New Found Glory to grow up would be pointless. But if the group is going to pull a little punch from its Peter Pan paradigm, it needs to fill that gap with something equally compelling.