Review || Real Friends - "Torn In Two" EP

 Real Friends release their new EP titled "Torn In Two" on September 17 2021 via Pure Noise records, the first piece of music with new singer Cody Muraro. The EP contains 10 songs, 5 original and 5 re-imagined versions. 

I'm not gonna lie, my relationship with pop punk is at best circumstantial and even then, my choice of bands/songs really depends on my mood. I grew up at the time when pop punk was gaining traction on Tumblr [you did too, who are you kidding] so I got acquainted with the names and some lyrics through the moody posts. Real Friends, however, one of the household names in the genre, was one of the few bands that I kept a tab on over the years. Somehow the stars seem to have aligned and this EP landed in my inbox right as I needed not just new music, but something to speak to me at a deeper level. And it did.

If I'm being honest, the original tracks were so powerful that the re-imagined versions didn't really impress me. The hopelessness in the lyrics juxtaposes the upbeat music but the feeling of misery doesn't dominate the outcome. Much like a (reverse) amusement park train ride, the listener is witnessing some of Muraro's darkest days; from the cynical escapism in "Remedy For Reality", to the desolate longing for a glimmer of hope in "Nervous Wreck", to the brutally honest confession in "Teeth" (also my personal favorite), to the gradual loss of control in some of the most vital aspects in everyday life in "Spinning", to confronting a person who once meant a lot and did some permanent damage in "Storyteller", thus ending our emotionally charged ride.

"Torn In Two" is very soulful. It's -to borrow Acres' motto- "sad songs for sad dudes" within your otherwise habitual pop punk packaging. Muraro seems to have adapted to the spirit of the band very well and this new era marks a shift in the direction which feels organic and well-thought. If this is what an EP has to offer, I can't wait for the full length.


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