With all of the popularity they’ve been collecting with their defense of pop-punk, it was only a matter of time before Man Overboard would make a jump to a bigger label. Rise Records will be the home of the follow-up to the ever-popular Real Talk, but Run For Cover Records is doing us all a huge favor by putting a ton of EP, rare, remastered and new tracks together for the non-completists who are looking for something more to hold them over until LP2 hits our speakers (hopefully) later this year. And from the sound of the two new tracks, this collection will only further fuel the fire this band has started with honest, heartfelt pop-punk tinged with memorable melodies and singalong ready lyricism. Whether you’re a new fan looking to add more to your Man Overboard collection or you’re itching for new tracks to keep you singing along until next time, The Human Highlight Reel is a wonderfully balanced compilation that showcases one of the brightest up-and-comers in the genre.
Right off the bat, we get the two newbies to the group – “Driveway” and “Melanie, Video Games and a Slight Fear of Flying”. Both are relentless pop-punk numbers, with “Driveway” featuring upbeat guitar buzzing paired with sparse, yet driving melodies that punch holes in your ears. Even the mid-tempo chorus is catchy as fuck. “Melanie” jaunts lines about World of Warcraft and not wanting to leave on top of driving power-chords and the occasional jam session. They definitely seem to have fined tuned the 'cheesy' lyricism that some have strayed away from them for, yet they haven't lost the personal touch they have undoubtedly always had when writing lyrics. These two tracks are definitely top-notch and make it hard to believe these guys will strike out on their second full-length.
Tracks from the band’s EPs, some Real Talk b-sides, a Promise Ring cover and Man Overboard’s yuletide jam “Decemberism” occupy the rest of this disc. While some fans certainly might own all of these tracks on separate discs, it is nice to not only see them all in one place, but remastered as well. “Different People” is essentially “Real Talk” gone acoustic, but it hits so much harder with a sullen acoustic guitar line and much more heart-tugging vocals, while “Decemberism” pairs a bouncy holiday-ready melody with upbeat vocals to create a successful addition to anyone’s holiday playlist. Really, most of these tracks are good on their own, even if they show a slightly less focused Man Overboard getting their sound fine-tuned. The acoustic-anchored “Crybaby” features some often soaring vocals over back-and-forth guitar melodies, though the track is sometimes lost in itself to truly come across as golden. “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Use To” suffers a similar fate, as it has a great idea to start, but just doesn’t cash it in quite as well as some of the tracks on Real Talk did.
Still, there are a number of great jams to be heard on The Human Highlight Reel, regardless of how long you’ve taken to the cause of defending pop-punk. Whether you can reminisce in knowing these songs for quite some time or you're hearing them for the first time, there is plenty to enjoy about this look at the past and future of this promising group.
2. Melanie, Video Games and a Slight Fear of Flying
3. I Saw Behemoth and It Ruled (Electric)
4. They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To
5. Five Girls Pizza
6. I Ate My Gluestick
7. Love Your Friends Die Laughing
9. Red Paint (Originally by The Promise Ring)
11. Dylan's Song
12. I Saw Behemoth and It Ruled (Acoustic)
14. Dear You
15. Different People
Nik - Bass / Vocals
Wayne - Guitar
Justin - Drums
Zac - Guitar / Vocals