With a new band line-up, there was some apprehension with a release from the band. However, anticipation often out-weighed the concern since the band hasn’t released a record since 2018. The EP highlights 5 main selections with mirrored tracks included, so the audience can experience each song through two different avenues. This approach to an EP is unique, especially as the first release back, so there is a lot to discuss.
To discuss the obvious, the new singer’s (Cody Muraro) voice feels like a nature choice for the band. Even though the previous singers’ voice was very specific and easily identifiable, Muraro’s voice meshes well with the Real Friends brand and this EP emphasizes that. Their first track on the EP “Remedy for Reality” introduces listeners quickly into the band’s evolved take on Pop Punk music. The focus lies primarily on the melodic line with their tried-and-true Pop Punk lyrics with instrumentals that complement the melody.
This take on music resembles previous releases from the band, which will continue the natural progression mentioned previous. Throughout several tracks, especially “Nervous Wreck,” the band utilizes the orchestration to not only complement but also accent the important lyrical moments presented by the vocalist. The contrast that is created by these peaks and valleys helps to keep the EP moving with momentum. I appreciate the dynamic nature of the EP because it provides moments that strike the listener when they are least expecting it. Providing these moments of contrast additionally allow for moments of more instrumental elaboration. This is sensational when thinking about translating these tracks to a live performance. I can see the band rocking out to these new selections now- Real Friends are certainly going to rip it.
“Teeth” was a nice inclusion for the album because it incorporated an intimate track that dialed back the orchestration to provide another Real Friends, hit-the-soul sad song. Would it really be a Real Friends record without one?
The portion of this EP that makes it unique compared to others is the inclusion of the “Reimagined” versions of each song on the make. This was intriguing when listening from front to back because you are able to hear two different versions and points of view presented by the band. Some selections that were bumping were switched to be more laid back, and others were flipped the opposite direction. As philosophical as it may sound, this was fascinating because it makes you consider how the orchestration, tempo, and dynamics truly shape the overall experience for the listener.
As a music nerd, I am a big fan of the “Reimagined” experiences as well as the initial delivery of each selection. Perspective in music is important and Real Friends gave their own instance of this through this project.
I am giving this record a 4 out of 5 stars.
*”Torn in Two” was released on September 17th, 2021 through Pure Noise Records.