New Found Glory’s New Back-to-Basics Album Shows Why They’ve Stuck Around ‘Forever + Ever x Infinity’ (Review/Listen)

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Ten albums in, Florida-based pop/punk veterans New Found Glory know what they’re doing.

We’re roughly two decades removed from the peak of Warped Tour culture and teens making the yearly pilgrimage to sun-soaked festival setups in parking lots to watch abbreviated sets from acts up and down the punk/rock world and beyond. Most of the bands that frequented the Warped stage are now legacy acts, if they’re even together anymore.

New Found Glory, though, keep pumping out records, and in non-pandemic circumstances, would be out on tour once again with their high-energy live show.

With that sense of longevity and resilience in mind, the band’s new album title makes sense: Forever + Ever x Infinity. That’s pretty much how long NFG has been around. A lifetime, at least when compared to their peers.

Very few (if any) other pop/punk bands from that era remain as active as NFG, three-fourths of which are dads pushing 40. They could have called it quits years ago, basking in the glory (sorry) of dominating the Warped stages of yesteryear, but they didn’t. The work ethic is just too strong.

The build-up to Forever + Ever x Infinity, the follow-up to 2017’s Makes Me Sick, saw the band — vocalist Jordan Pundik, guitarist Chad Gilbert, bassist Ian Grushka and drummer Cyrus Bolooki — talking up the album as a return-to-form, with Gilbert promising it was “the record our fans have been waiting for us to make,” adding that “The old now feels new and fresh. It was a blast finding ourselves again.”

It’s the third album from NFG as a four-piece, founding guitarist Steve Klein splitting from the band in 2014, and as a whole it very much accomplishes what Gilbert said it would.

New Found Glory sound as confident as ever on the album’s fifteen songs(!), anthems packed with singalong moments, catchy choruses and hardcore-tinged refrains tailor made for the mosh pit (once actual live concerts return).

Lyrically, Pundik is still singing about relationship woes (“You’re the catch, and I’m the one you throw back in,” in “Double Chin for the Win”) and bouts with self-doubt, regular themes for the band over the years, as well as defiant calls for standing up for yousrelf, another lyrical calling card.

Take the machine gun riffage of “Himayala” as an example:

They don’t want what’s best for you
They just want what works best for them
You spread yourself too thin
I think it’s time you find yourself
Find yourself some new friends

“Stay Awhile” is a standout, the marriage of a catchy lead riff, chugging verses and Pundik’s earnest refrain finding the band at its best:

You like my sense of humor
I like the way you smile
And we both like long conversations
Why don’t you stay awhile

The frantic blast of “Trophy” includes an interesting line about objectification, which stands out as an example of New Found Glory’s self-awareness as elder statesmen of a musical genre that has had its issues with such topics over the years:

I ran a race and came up empty
Until I met you and now you’re my trophy
I hope I didn’t objectify you
Feel like I’m a winner when I’m standing by you

Throwing back to the familiar, which NFG does throughout this record, is what gives it so much life, even if such a concerted effort to “recapture the past” does so at the expense of furthering the slight experimentation that was peppered in to 2017’s Makes Me Sick. 

Over the years, the band has moved out of its pop/punk comfort zone, both with 2005’s Coming Home and 2017’s Makes Me Sick — often returning to its tried-and-true sound in later records. That’s probably how they’ve managed to stick around as long as they have, finding ways to keep things fresh every now and then, while staying true to what put them on the map in the first place.

Ten albums in, that’s what New Found Glory is: A reliable, familiar friend who’s there for you when you need it most, eager to reconnect and fire up a conversation about the good old days.

Stream Forever + Ever x Infinity below, via Spotify:

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