Album Review

Sum 41 Evolves With 'Order In Decline' by Josh Custer

Order in decline, the newest release from Sum 41, is the next album in their evolution of sound. The fact that Sum 41 has been able to make music, take a hiatus, change directions and grow as musicians while seemingly never missing a beat is truly a testament to not only them but their fan base that has continued to support the band for nearly 2 decades.

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Real Friends release "Composure" by Josh Custer

Real Friends a pop punk band from Tinley Park, Illinois brings their fans their new album "Composure", the bands third studio full length album, releasing on July 13th 2018. The band will also be on the Vans Warped Tour this year for it's final cross country run. 

This album is extremely relatable. From the opening track through the closer its easy to connect with the content. The album is a very honest touching on subjects such as unrequited love, failed relationships, and perhaps most importantly mental health. 

"Me First" is the opening track and instantly hooks the listener with lyrics about being a second choice instead of the top priority. The song asks "Why don't you put me first for once", a question most people have asked. This will be a track that has a lot of fan interaction when played live. Several opportunities for chanting. 

"From The Outside" is one of the song's that I connected with personally. "From the outside I seem fine" are lyrics that really resonate. Dan's lyrics in this song detail the struggles of his bi-polar disorder. Keeping up an appearance on the outside to the people around him that he is alright, but on the inside battling himself. Whether intentional or not this song will be an anthem for those who suffer from depression and mental illness. 

The title track "Composure" is a song of self assurance and about working to get yourself back. Its about making some compromises for those around you. Regaining the ability to be in social settings. 

"Get By" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. A classic Pop Punk callout. "You'll get by, while I get better" shifting the focus to working on yourself, and getting better. Mentally and emotionally. It's ok to be a little selfish sometimes and this song is unapologetically focused on a failed relationship and getting better after the breakup. 

Closing out the album is "Take A Hint". This is a great wrap up track, giving the feeling of acceptance. "We're willingly lost" are words that will hit home to anyone that has felt like they don't know where they are going or what direction to take in life but being content in what they are doing. 

Overall this album has a great mix of styles and honest lyrics. Whether you are a fan of old albums, or just now finding Real Friends this will be an album to play loud with the windows down. Play it with your friends, or when you are reflecting on life by yourself. Be sure to check out Real Friends on tour as well, they will be Vans Warped Tour all summer for the final cross country run. 

 

The Material Returns With ‘Gray States’ by Josh Custer

The Material have returned, after nearly 5 years, with their new EP "Gray States". Getting their first big break on the Moutain Dew Breakout in 2007. The Material has been featured on MTV and MTV2 and their song "Moving to Seattle" is also available to download for the video game, Rock Band. Lead singer, Colleen D’Agostino, has also worked with Deadmau5 on “Drop  The Poptart” and “Stay”.

The One That Got Away is the first single from the EP is a strong showing. The song lyrically speaks of regret, not taking chances on someone. Musically if you were a fan of The Material when they were around before this song will strike a chord right away. (pun intended)

Give Anything is one that stands out to me. It is an anthem for anyone that feels like they've been stuck reaching for something that they couldn't get. The song talks about feeling like you would give anything to get to what you're after.

Closing out the EP is Mistakes. Its a song that begs for acceptance, and forgiveness. The song also speaks of the importance of another. This song is incredibly powerful for anyone that has been through a similar situation. 

This EP is a great teaser and is sure to bring in new fans as well as hyping past fans up from r the future of the band. Be sure to check the album out and let us know what you think.  

 

Make The Best Of It -- Have Mercy by Josh Custer

 

Baltimore’s emo act Have Mercy has gone through some drastic changes since founding a over half a decade ago. Only a fraction of the band, which began as a standard rock quartet of guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, now remains. Swindle is the only founding member still playing under the moniker. After listening to this album in its entirety the question that will be on your mind is simple, "Why aren't they bigger by now?". Make The Best Of It is a deep album dealing with themes of family, emotional vulnerability, and both metaphorical and physical death. 

The first standout track on the album is "Drive", an extremely catchy and relatable track. Late night drives with someone you care about but then something changes and they move on and find someone new while you are left reminiscing. "Coexist" follows up telling the story of how people change as life moves forward. He sings of romances that either fell apart or never had a chance to exist at all, and how time can change people and tear them apart. 

One of the most fun tracks is, "Reaper." Upbeat and edgy pop vocals this track talks about cutting and the brake lines of the new boyfriend's Camaro. This track is definitely going to be a sing a long track. One of the closing tracks is "Good Christian Man." A more melodic and melancholy track with some gritty vocals. Possibly the track that will feel the most familiar to longtime fans of the band. 

This album will not just give listeners another angsty emo album, but gives people a record that feels like it’s talking to them directly, establishing that there are others that have gone through turmoil in their day to day lives and that it eventually becomes better once again.