Relative newcomers Real Friends amassed a fan base incredibly quickly after the success of Everyone That Dragged You Here whipping crowds into a storm all over, even inspiring people to have tattoos dedicated solely to the strong identification they feel with the band. So with that kind of knowledge, you’d expect a storm of musical brilliance would you not? Well the sleepy eyes and bony knees are back on this E.P in regular pop punk fashion, but it does seem to be a mediocre release following their usual formula.
Opening track Late Nights in My Car starts off with the same upbeat pop-punk recipe with a dash of a fast tempo, a dash of upbeat and racing guitars and self-loathing lyrics. We’re back to the bony knees again and there really are only so many times I can hear it without wanting to cut my ears off. They have a grand total of five songs mentioning this, three of which are on this album! Despite this it’s a heart-felt and almost visceral track, easy to scream your heart out to. Its utterly relatable to anybody feeling lost in their lives, offering a musical shoulder to cry on.
The highlights of this E.P are Dirty Water and Old and All Alone; they are both so sincere and heartfelt it’s hard not to fall in love with the raw emotion within. They tell the tale of lost loves and the bitter feelings, almost tangible from the music with high-pitched twangs of guitar strings and feedback setting your teeth on edge, especially in Dirty Water, making your ear drums seem like the punch bag for pent up emotions. Old and All Alone is a lot softer in sound but rises and falls into a harder more technical tone, emulating anger inside. This makes you feel a part of the song almost, it’s so honest and direct.
It is very easy to let tracks pass you by on a pop-punk release because of the similarity in the instrumentals. It’s mostly all about the lyrics, which is why closing track Lost Boy is such a surprise success. Musically it is quite a monotonous EP, it seems like it was released in a rush to keep the Real Friends buzz alive. However Lost Boy channels an almost hardcore feel to the song with heavier use of guitar and bass with more audible drums, bringing focus to the music not what is being said, which is hard to understand anyway with energetic, yelping vocals. This creative flair shows they are not scared to break the usual fool-proof formula they have almost perfected, and it really works for them.
The release is quite divided; on one hand it is exactly like their previous release and therefore channels everything that has already proved successful. On the other hand, as a result it’s almost boring and has few stand out features which means it lost the ‘wow’ factor. Hopefully it doesn’t completely fizzle out and die, because Real Friends are such a passionate and hardworking band, it would be a shame if this was wasted.