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Neck Deep

Hailing from Wrexham, Wales, Neck Deep are a pop-punk band whose energetic and hook-driven songwriting has earned them acclaim and chart success on both sides of the Atlantic. After building a grass roots audience in the early 2010s with a pair of self-released EPs, they became a staple of the Hopeless Records roster, lodging a string of U.K. Independent chart-toppers like 2015's Life's Not Out to Get You and 2017's The Peace and the Panic. The latter LP made it to number four on the U.S. pop charts, proving Neck Deep's widespread appeal. Despite weathering a series of lineup changes, the group remained popular heading into the next decade, issuing the 2020 concept album All Distortions Are Intentional and a self-titled 2024 set. Neck Deep formed in 2012 as the D.I.Y. project of singer Ben Barlow and guitarist Lloyd Roberts. After testing the water with a couple of self-released online tracks, they issued their first EP, Rain in July, in late 2012. Part of an incoming wave of pop-punk revival acts, Neck Deep cited influences like Fall Out Boy, New Found Glory, and Sum 41, offering an updated version of the genre's classic sound. Wanting to expand their capabilities, Barlow and Roberts enlisted friends from the local scene to complete their lineup. Matt West joined on guitar, Fil Thorpe-Evans became their bassist, and Dani Washington joined as drummer. Their second EP, 2013's A History of Bad Decisions, garnered enough attention to bring them to the U.S. for their first international shows, where they caught the attention of several major labels. Neck Deep signed with Hopeless Records in August 2013 and, just a few months later in January 2014, issued their debut, Wishful Thinking. The album was well received, and they spent much of 2014 touring the U.K. and the U.S. supporting bands like We Are the In Crowd and Knuckle Puck, and joining the Vans Warped Tour for a stint. Their sophomore LP, Life's Not Out to Get You, arrived in August 2015, garnering acclaim from fans and critics alike. A lineup change preceded their next effort with Roberts being replaced by Climates and Blood Youth guitarist Sam Bowden. Bowden made his debut on 2017's The Peace and the Panic, which topped charts in the U.K. and hit number four on the Billboard 200. The next year, Neck Deep joined the roster for Songs That Saved My Life, contributing a cover of Ednaswap's "Torn," before Thorpe-Evans left to pursue a production career and was replaced on bass by their former tour photographer, Joshua Halling. In 2019, in anticipation of a summer jaunt with blink-182 and Lil Wayne, the band released the singles "Don't Tell Me" and "She's a God." Early 2020 saw another line-up change with Barlow's brother Seb taking Halling's place. Neck Deep also grew more experimental, fashioning their next release, All Distortions Are Intentional, as a concept album about the emotional journey of two characters, Jett and Alice. Like their previous album, it topped the U.K. Rock and Independent charts and yielded popular singles like "When You Know" and "Lowlife." By 2023, drummer Washington had been replaced by Matt Powles, again altering Neck Deep's chemistry. Undeterred, they set about recording their next album themselves, working together out of their Wrexham studio with Seb Barlow producing. Released in January 2024, the self-titled album was seen as a back-to-basics set that focused on their core attributes, namely melodic songwriting and a brash, energetic rock.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo


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