The Real You - Better Now Than Never
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: December 16, 2008
Forget what you know about present-day pop-rock. There are no squeaky-voiced, tender-hearted boys with long bangs here. The Real You comes from the birthplace of Hendrix and Cobain, and while they certainly don't hold a candle to their landmark status, these four young fellas are determined to start where Acceptance left off, taking some cues from The Graduate & Relient K along the way.
With producer Jim Wirt (Jack's Mannequin) in tow, this five-track EP is similar to Andrew McMahon's pop sensibilities; joyous and vivid, full of life, without dragging anything out. "The Truth About Liars" shimmers with an upbeat piano rhythm (courtesy of Xander Burmer), as Ryan Striker's clean-cut pipes smoothly bounce along. Re-recorded fan favorite "Unwound" takes its inspiration from Jack's Mannequin, riding on a lavish chorus with emotional vocals and ethereal instrumentation from drummer Bob Palilunas & Daniel Dobyns. Think of it all as a 17-minute how-to lesson about where that delicate balance between pop music and utter cheesiness blend together.
Certainly on their way to winning over the hearts of any pop music fan, The Real You only fail to provide anything new, opting to take an old-school approach to the pop gambit. Yes, we know the formula, but it's all in the execution. Ignoring some of the over-the-top lyrics is difficult (check out the bridge on "Worse For The Wear"), but with a solid effort for their sophomore EP, things can only improve from here; the band is still young and working on their craft (they formed in 2007). You have to be sincerely thankful to listen to pop music nowadays and not hear gang vocals, faux-breakdowns and synths whipping by at every chance that neon-covered, keytar-wielding guy on the side of gets. Quick, upbeat and containing enough zip to anticipate more, The Real You are on the right track for some pop magic. "Before long, I'll be singing along," sings Striker on the final track -- here's hoping you do, too.
Highly, highly recommended. I've been a fan since the beginning of '08, and they've come a long way even since then. I've now gotten the chance to work with them, and they're definitely going to go places.
Don't think of 74% as a bad score, people -- that's still an average grade, and personally, I see them growing as pop artists; they have the sound that appeals to people, and best thing is, it's all natural!