Album Review // NECK DEEP ‘All Distortions Are Intentional’
Catchy, feel-good and light-hearted, most awaited ADAI finally steps into the spotlight, ready to push Neck Deep straight to the top tiers of the modern alternative rock genre.
A commentary on one’s importance in the their own world versus in the larger universe, Neck Deep’s new album All Distortions Are Intentional is designed to tell a story, in an attempt to make this album more than just a collection of songs. While exploring the complex concepts of disconnection, disillusion, existential confusion and the ‘meaning of life’ through the eyes of a loner named Jett who eventually finds love, the album also breaks the mould of what an alternative record should sound like by incorporating narrative elements of classic rock, an infectious punk attitude as well as memorably singalong-worthy choruses.
With an epically drum-driven intro, Sonderland kicks off the album as if it were a live show or a vintage teenage rebellious movie, introducing you to the protagonist as he evaluates his life and dreams of a more exciting and less exhausting future. Fall marks the game-changing experience that Jett is drawn into as he falls in love, while Lowlife sees a clash of his happy dreams and impression of himself with someone else’s, triggering him to mockingly dismiss another’s illusion of superiority. Telling Stories continues the thought-process behind finding the meaning of one’s life as well as its place among all the other lives in this world, concluding that the most important aspect is finding friends to fill your life and give it meaning.
Trying to make peace with the past and ultimately shake off the feeling of not-belonging, When You Know explores the idea of escaping the reality and one’s self by running away with the loved one, while acknowledging that these dreams become reality whenever Alice (Jett’s crush, yes, that’s her name) is around. So far the songs were getting happier, confident and more rebellious one by one and culminating with the latter as the ultimate day-dreaming, hopefully romantic song fans would sing in one voice from the top of their lungs, however the vibe drops dramatically as Quarry unexpectedly hits and sees Jett spiralling back into sadness and loneliness deeper than before as stress and loss takes over.
But fret not, this episode of negativity only last for 1 min and 26 seconds! Sick Joke raises back the mood with a weirdly positive and empowering realisation that “I’m still here and I’m not dead”, almost encouraging towards hanging in there until the happy day of liberation comes. What Took You So Long? shifts the focus towards Alice, their love and her importance to him, which reveals a deep wish, a not-so-hidden-anymore hope that her presence making him feel complete means that he’s not insignificant to the rest of the world anymore either. While I will stop giving you spoilers here, it’s definitely worth listening to the very end to find out the conclusion of all this deep thinking, it’s kind of funny…
Overall, the album is an interesting incursion into very deep existential questions about relevance and meaning, through the eyes of an introvert finding relief and peace while escaping into a perfect and dreamy world brightened by love. With prominent vocals delivering metaphor after metaphor together with energetic drums and revitalising guitar riffs, Neck Deep’s new album All Distortions Are Intentional will surely not go unnoticed and provide a few intriguing vantage points on looking at life.