“I’m still a lost boy / Last year I was a trainwreck, now I’m just a mess / I’m letting go so I don’t lose myself”
Real Friends have always had a garage band quality to them, with songs sounding as though they were written on Taco Bell napkins and put together in an hour’s rehearsal that pissed off the neighbors. The Home Inside My Head shows an iconic pop-punk band growing older but certainly not up, with lyrics reading like vulnerable journal entries backed by their most impressive instrumental work to date.
If you listen closely enough, you can hear the thought that went into this explorative album as Real Friends adventure more into the worlds of punk and rock and find some freedom from their previous generic pop-punk sound. They have metaphorically (or literally) left their garage band days to create a collection of songs that prove you don’t have to sacrifice quality or sincerity when evolving.
“Mess” showcases their nostalgic songwriting with lines such as, “Every once in a while I listen to Death Cab and think about how it used to be / We thought that we knew the answers”. At times the lyrics are extremely specific, but still remain accessible. The tracks “Mokena” and “Eastwick” find the self-titled Illinois sad boys stripped down in every way, with reflections constructed like spoken poetry weaving in and out of lonely guitars. The scrupulous drums and striking, now more lucid guitar work bloom on “Well, I’m Sorry”, a song to please both lovers of the listening and live experience.
The Home Inside My Head reveals new layers to an already exposed band and the result is homey yet invigorating. Real Friends still manage to feel on our level while reaching new levels as musicians and songwriters.
Buy It, Skip It, Stream It: BUY IT. If for some reason past releases haven’t caught your attention, this one is sure to.