New Found Glory are putting the punk in “pop punk” with their latest release, Mania. The 6-song EP is a Ramones tribute album, as indicated by its title which harkens back to the Ramones compilation album Ramones Mania, and features covers of classics like “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “Rock and Roll High School.”
If nothing else, the album is loyal and accurate. The covers featured on Mania are pretty much exact copies of the original tracks — simply a little more polished, although this is at least partially attributable to advances in recording equipment, no doubt. Jordan Pundik’s vocals, characteristic of the pop-punk NFG helped found in their melodic yet slightly whiny quality, are perfectly suited for mimicking the vocal stylings of Joey Ramone. Pundik may be in his mid-thirties but classic lines like “I don’t care about history” are nevertheless believable — a sign that New Found Glory has managed to replicate not only the audio characteristics of the Ramones, but also the never-grow-up attitude of the punk-rock movement as well.
It’s hard to say whether this is something to be lauded though. The album as it stands is a great copy of the original material, but it kind of makes you wonder what the point of the project is. There are no surprises on the album at all — even the static feedback on “Do You Remember Rock and Roll High School” has been reproduced. Someone could have digitally remastered these tracks by the Ramones and it would likely have pretty much the same effect. That being said, as the fathers of pop-punk, New Found Glory have done a lot of innovating in their lifetime and perhaps can be afforded this one instance of indulgent fandom. Here’s hoping its the exception to the rule.