Real Friends – Put Yourself Back Together
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: June 4th 2013
Pop-punk has always been my choice of genre to play during the summer months, and now that we’re entering June, pop-punk should be in full swing by now, right? Well, for the most part, it is. Recent releases by The Wonder Years, The Story So Far, and Transit came out in the spring, and still have nice lasting value for the summer, but more pop-punk releases are on the way, including Transit side project Misser, New Jersey pop-punk band Man Overboard, and Chicago pop-punk quintet Real Friends. This band has been on almost every pop-punk fan’s radar for quite some time, including my own, and when they announced new EP Put Yourself Back Together, I almost died from excitement, because this band is easily one of my favorite pop-punk bands in the genre currently. Despite having rather straightforward instrumentation, it’s their very emotional and heartfelt lyrics that seem to appeal to a loto of people. Fellow pop-punk band The Wonder Years is a band that sounds quite similar to them, and also have a very unique brand of heartfelt and relatable lyrics. Of course they’re not totally the same, and the main difference is that Real Friends has been teasing us with a handful of EPs, while The Wonder Years have released their fourth LP in May.
All comparisons aside, Real Friends is easily one of the best pop-punk bands in the genre, because of their raw passion and the heart they put into their music. As I mentioned, their instrumentation has always been rather straightforward, but this EP seems to mark new territory for the band; last year, the band released an acoustic EP with one original acoustic track, and a few acoustic renditions of songs from the EP prior to that, Everyone That Dragged You Here, which is another lovely EP. Last fall, the band then released Three Songs About the Past Year of My Life, which was exactly what it said – it was three songs that were more or less of what we, the listeners and fans, have already gotten before. The songs were a bit shorter, however, and much more to the point, which I enjoyed. The fact it was only three songs was aggravating, but the EP is for free download, so you can’t go wrong with that. That EP was released in November, so that was about five months ago, so it’s been awhile, to say the least. Put Yourself Back Together is the longest EP that the band has ever produced, being seven songs clocking in at about 21 minutes. That’s a nice length for an EP, and for what it is, it’s great pop-punk. Like the new Man Overboard record, both records don’t really do anything different for the band, but as a standalone record, it’s enjoyable, nonetheless. The only difference is, Put Yourself Back Together doesn’t come off monotonous and tiresome by the end. Heart Attack by Man Overboard is an awesome record, but being that it’s about 44 minutes, the record can drag on a bit, and it does. Real Friends know when to put the brakes on a record, and despite being an “EP band,” they’re doing quite nicely. Although most of the EP doesn’t do anything unique, there are a couple of songs that are different, and may even be some of the best songs in the band’s whole catalog.
The EP’s opener, “Late Nights In My Car,” is one of these songs, actually; it starts the EP off on a great note, because it’s what we already expect from the band – heartfelt and honest lyrics from vocalist Dan Lambton, and rather straightforward yet catchy instrumentation from the rest of the band. Real Friends is a band that’s known for their lyrics, including a lot of very memorable one-liners, even if the songs do tend to run together. This track also hints at the core theme of the record, which is explained in the lyrics, “If you never break, you’ll never know how to put yourself back together.” The whole theme of the EP is about putting yourself back together after falling apart, and just dealing with the ups and downs of life. This track (along with a few other tracks) also alludes to sophomore EP Everyone That Dragged You Here with lyrics about “sleepy eyes and bony knees,” which are the band’s “thing,” like The Wonder Years talks about “not being sad anymore.” It does get rather repetitive, but it’s a nice nod to the past at the same time. The next couple tracks follow the same “formula,” but do have some nice one-liners that any pop-punk fan should be able to relate to, but fourth track “Dirty Water” is the only familiar track on the record, which appears on Three Songs. This is actually my favorite track from that EP, so I’m glad it makes an appearance here, too. The following track, “I’ve Given Up On You” is another album highlight, because it’s the slowest track on the record. Once you strip away the pop-punk instrumentation, and you’re left with a very slow and somber guitar riff, Lambton’s lyrics become a lot more effective and hardhitting. This may be the best song in the band’s catalog. It’s so sad, but it’s very moving, because it’s so relatable. Real Friends are a band that is only about four EPs into their career, but this is another release to add into their belts. The most amazing thing about this band is that they’re unsigned, and they’re quite successful in the genre. Since summer is the perfect time of year to play pop-punk, it’s fortunate that we’ve been graced with a new Real Friends EP.
this band is going to be huge. I'm suprised there isn't much here on them. A new form of pop punk following in the wake of the wonder years. Just found out about them and already crazy about it. Damn! I just want to give these guys all of my money like...
I'm all supportive and want these guys to succeed, but I cringe that they reuse the same lyric/theme of "sleepy eyes and bony knees". I read Kyle's post about what the meaning is and I get that, but cmon dude you can write some more lyrics that aren't so repetitive. Still love the EP and these guys are amazing live