This summer Illinois boys in Real Friends put out their third full-length album, and from the singles they had previously released, the world was anxiously awaiting the full concept. This album, from the jump, smacks the audience in the face with a refinement of sound. On their previous releases, Real Friends always obtained a sort of vulnerability within their tracks while enforcing an almost raw overtone. This wasn’t or isn’t anything to knock the band down for because this was and is their characteristic sound, which is what has made them so remarkable. However, when one listens to this album for the first time, they notice that the band is turning a new leaf, as it were; meaning, they took that beloved sound that their audience is used to, and they bumped it up by 15%. Moving to the band’s lyrical content, normally the band provides the audience with cliché lyrics that are quirky but work for them (aka boney knees). In this release, the band takes a progressive front to their lyrics and gives their audience a more connective platform compared to their previous albums. When the album dropped, the band talked about the influence of the album artwork as well as the meaning behind Composure. From here, the audience learned that this album gives such a deeper meaning before one even turns the first selection on, which makes this album strong at its core. Next, we will move to the instrumental portion of the album. Throughout the full-length, the band gives a grand balance of instrumentals to the vocal line, which allows the instrumentalists to dig into their own part while the vocalist stays strong with his characteristic approach. This technique allows the band to deliver the overly catchy hooks that capture the audience’s grasp immediately, which will help drive the success of this album. Overall, I am giving the album a 5 out of 5 stars because this album sounds fresh, it drives a strong message, and its overly groovy, and who doesn’t love that?
Top Tracks of the Album:
“Ripcord”, “Me First”, and “Composure”.
These tracks take the audience through the full embodiment of the new sound that helps to deliver the band’s meaningful message to the audience. This is done through over the top grooves and instrumental riffs that sound different than the majority of music previously produced by the band, but in their core, they are all such bops. These tracks may startle the audience among their first listen, for they do present themselves in a different light; however, once one makes it through the first 30-40 seconds of the song, they’ll be in total love. If nothing, please don’t sleep on these tracks.
Looking at the album artwork when listening to this album allows the audience to take the band’s concept full circle. The band has vocalized the intent behind the cover of their album, which, in a summarized version, is that a person (the bird) goes through a lot of hardships that are unpredictable similar to a hurricane (the rain), and no matter what, the said person will keep on going. Knowing this as well as looking at the exact image present throws the audience into that exact scenario just by glancing at the album cover. Therefore, as one makes their way through the album, they can feel themselves digging through situations that wouldn’t guarantee smooth sailing; thus, they would be navigating their way through all of the random storms that life has to offer. This mixture of image to music makes for a perfect combination for the album as a whole.
*”Composure” was released on July 13, 2018 through Fearless Records.