Some might call New Found Glory’s Steve Klein a nitpicker. Others may view the way he adds consequence to a person’s seemingly minor quirks as insightful.
“If there’s something about someone that bothers you, and you keep on noticing it every time you hang out with that person, it’s like a snowball effect,” the band’s guitarist explained. “Every time, it keeps getting worse and you keep on noticing that one thing and you can’t deal with it. You have to just stop it before it gets too far along.”
Such was the inspiration behind “All Downhill From Here,” the first single off New Found Glory’s fourth album, Catalyst, due May 18. That muse, however, isn’t immediately obvious from the video, which finds the band performing atop a pedestal that keeps rising higher and higher thanks to the diligent work of animated, gremlinlike creatures. It seems to suggest the adage “What goes up…” applies to New Found Glory’s seven-year upward trajectory.
The idea for a video that isn’t quite in line with the song was something the band had in mind when sorting through prospective directors. They eventually settled on Meiert Avis (Michelle Branch, Audioslave), who incorporated the French animation team No Brains, after most of the prospective treatments thrust on them left much to be desired.
“We met with all these directors and they all had the same thing in mind,” said guitarist Chad Gilbert. ” ‘We’ll have a car going really fast, and an explosion, and…’ ”
“… a girl chasing [singer] Jordan [Pundik],” interrupted Klein.
“It’s just so typical, and that’s not us,” Gilbert continued. “Lately, videos in our genre are all the same. They have what we call rent-a-crowds.”
Pundik, having thought for a moment of videos such as “Hit or Miss,” off 2000’s self-titled LP, or “Understatement,” from 2002’s Sticks & Stones, both of which couldn’t exactly be described as “groundbreaking,” said, “You can’t make fun of that because we had all that stuff.”
“Exactly,” Gilbert agreed. “We’re just at a point now in our career where we’ve done a lot of these things, and it’s time for us to experiment and do new things.”
The same might be said of Catalyst. The album retains the pop-punk bounce and heavy-hearted lyrics NFG fans have come to expect, while introducing elements such as hardcore (the 30-second “Intro”), strings (“I Don’t Want to Know”) and keyboards (“Failure’s Not Flattering”). Hopefully, according to bassist Cyrus Bolooki, these slight curveballs may give credence to the album’s title.
“I was on one of our fan sites a couple of weeks ago and somebody had found a definition of [catalyst]. A catalyst is something that can spark change or help bring about change without actually being changed by the reaction itself.
“So if this can usher in a new era or kind of change what’s going on in music,” Bolooki continued, “that’s cool, because we never did anything different ourselves. We’ve always been ourselves, and we’re going to stay that way.”