New Music Review: Real Boys – Real Boys [EP]
“Kill all the shitheads that don’t agree.”
So goes an assault-of-a-chorus line in Shitshow, the opening track off the self-titled debut EP from Real Boys, just recently released March 27th, 2012. This may be the debut for a band that has only been playing as a cohesive unit for about a year, but all the members of the band are awfully familiar with the whole ‘rock band’ schtick.
You may recognize the charmingly obnoxious howl of Everett Morris playing lead crooning duties in Real Boys. He fronts another band out of the Fraser Valley you may have heard of: Oh No! Yoko. Fellow ON!Y bandmate Liam Hamilton is also a part of Real Boys, handling the percussive duties and handling them quite well!
But wait—there’s more!
The other half of the rhythm section of Real Boys features the likes of Stephen O’Shea on bass—a member of currently disbanded Abbotsford dance-rock outfit You Say Party!. Rounding out the quartet is GSTS member Drew Riekman also on guitar and backing vocals.
I hesitate to call Real Boys a “supergroup” as for fear of being scoffed at, but You Say Party! and Oh No! Yoko are arguably the two biggest bands to come out of the little church/murder town of Abbotsford in the last 10 years or so. And thus, the “supergroup” title however unwanted, seems rather fitting.
Anyway, that’s enough geography and bandography for now.
Real Boys come out of the gate fast and fresh on their debut EP. It’s actually wonderfully fresh. And equally fast. Creative guitar work, driving rhythms and simply crafted lyrics that spell out nostalgic happenings, breakfasts, and the Dark Lord, all blend together in a post-punk framework that lends itself to summery surf-groove rock.
While I may be making up my own genres, I’m not making up the energy and good times in the 6 tunes found on this EP. Shitshow busts this album wide open with a pulsing drum beat and guitar strums that climax with Morris’ familiar bellow. While the lyrics contain words like “shitheads” and “yam fries”, the music is still invigorating and purposeful, not getting lost in the intentional(?) immaturity of lyrical content.
Lyrical oddities can sometimes distract from the musical prowess of a song, but as soon as the second track, Whale kicks in, Real Boys mean business. O’Shea’s bassline runs amok while Hamilton’s drumming is featured none better than the second track, particularly during the 30-second breakdown at 2:30 of the tune.
Japanland stays the course of its predecessors with trilling guitar notes and an up-tempo beat that doesn’t do any favours to the faint of heart. Another musical breakdown mid-song creates a wonderful dynamic that really sets Real Boys apart from your typical pop-punk fling, creating diversity and intrigue. No page is being left unturned here.
The first single off the EP is Vacation. The track is a quick ditty that, at 2:25, is the shortest tune of the 6. Again, Morris’ wail blends perfectly with the rhythmic guitar patterns and stabbing snare drum fills. This track could quite easily be your summer party theme song:
Come as you are and bring all your friends!
I wish I had a lyric sheet so I’d know what to think of the content in Marly, the next track on the album. The most interesting line:
Satan, he takes no exceptions / I’m not a religious man but I can’t fight the demons.
Among a few other lines mentioning Satan chasing a Marly, I can’t make much sense of the premise. Perhaps it’s indeed summed up in the italicized line above. Either way, Marly could be the best song on the album. And by best, I mean my favourite. Not lyrically, necessarily, but the tempo is slowed a little, the melodies are at their sweetest (ironically), and the guitar lines possess a gentle intensity that is really quite hypnotizing.
Where Marly may be what I claim as my favourite, Wilderness is the closing track and probably the most well-rounded, polished track on the debut EP. The changes in tempo, the nifty guitar runs, lyrics, vocal dexterity and thumping rhythm exemplify what the other 5 tunes on the EP had previously done and packed them all together into a 3-minute and 27-second joy ride.
In fact, the outro of Wilderness is so good, I would equate it to something Kurt Cobain himself would’ve written—or at least, would’ve really dug. Serious.