In recent years, bands like Fall Out Boy, as well as rappers such as 50 cent and Kanye West have infiltrated the radio waves. For the most part, the rock genre has fallen off the charts, replaced primarily by an exuberant number of pop-punk bands. Originality has given way to generic artists who offer nothing but more of the same. However, there is finally a band that offers a change. The Real Be Easys, while not necessarily offering a different style than what we have heard before, provide a throwback to the sounds of the 1990s, when bands like Sublime, Incubus, Nirvana and Radiohead ruled the airwaves. Combining elements of the aforementioned, the Real Be Easys provide something for the college-aged listener, as this band fits perfectly into that college-rock genre. Some things hinder the overall quality of the record, but nonetheless it provides a welcome change and shows that there is something good brewing in the underground.
Upon first listen to their new album “Lost Paradise,” one may not be sure how to classify this band. Some may want to call it alternative rock, while others may wish to classify it as funk. However, this is what makes the band interesting, as their songs meld these genres together to create a good balance. The first song on the album, “Defunkt,” displays this brilliantly. The song starts off with an alternative flow, with heavy guitars, pounding drums and smooth bass, but quickly transitions into a bass-heavy funk song with an interesting bass solo that brings the song back to its starting point. This can be said for many of the eleven tracks on the album.
This presents a problem, as many of the songs have similar construction, making it difficult for the listener to determine where one song ends and another begins. The next tracks, “Manic,” “Ipso Facto” and “Pop Bottles” all have similar elements, making it hard to tell the songs apart. For the most part, all of the songs display a style similar to early Incubus albums, with a combination of funk and rock. Nothing new comes along until the track “Jam On,” which is a slower, acoustic number that displays a different sound than the rest of the album.
The funk-rock sound is displayed in Evan Jaffee’s vocals, which sounds like a mix of Brandon Boyd from Incubus and Perry Ferrell of Jane’s Addiction. His voice sounds both melodic and fun, as he displays variability in his tone. This makes it easy for many of the songs to get stuck in your head.
Musically, this album is brilliant. However, the lyrics leave something to be desired. None of the lyrics really stand out, and it is more the beats and the background music that gets stuck in your head instead of the lyrical content. Perhaps the band meant to do this, listen to the music instead of the words, because while most of the songs exceed three minutes in length, it is not because of the words, it is because of the musical content. The song “High Beams” captures this perfectly, with the opening lines being “So you think you won/the right to say you suck/cool dude captain crunch.” Perhaps there is a deeper meaning to this, but most likely not. It seems as though the writer just was stretching for words that would flow with previous lines. Lyrical geniuses this band is not, for this kind of content is riddled throughout the album.
Production wise, this album is stellar. It does not sound like most independent, underground albums. The distortion on the guitars, most notably on the track “On the Road” cut through the air and the heavy bass lines pack an incredible punch. This makes the album all the more enjoyable.
In the end, the Real Be Easys offer a fresh, but not necessarily new sound. This album is something different from what is in the mainstream.
Check out the Real Be Easys at www.realbeeasys.com.
Ashley Smith is a first-year student majoring in special education. She can be reached at AS651822@wcupa.edu.