Real Friends - Maybe This Place Is The Same And We’re Just Changing
Release Date: July 22nd, 2014
Record Label: Fearless Records
Review By: Chris Gates
Now that we’ve had a week or so to digest Maybe This Place Is the Same and We’re Just Changing, one thing has become abundantly clear: Real Friends has taken a gigantic step forward as a band.
The album — Real Friends’ debut full length — combines the same amount of energy, catchiness, and emotion fans have come to love, but it also shows us new wrinkles to their songwriting. Much of the band’s softer side is revealed, and the entire body of work progresses in its maturity.
Real Friends sings about being mad and sad, as they so often explain. This album has an element of that, but it also focuses on growing as a person and seeing the world around you in a different light.
Playing off the title of the album, at times the lyrics paint a picture of growing up and doing some soul searching to evaluate one’s current state in life.
“Maybe This Place Is the Same…” opens the record with some simple, soft tones as Dan Lambton repeatedly sings the album title. Eventually the song’s energy builds and drops us right into the lap of “I Don’t Love You Anymore” — a song about being misled in a relationship. It picks up the energy and explains, “I spent too many years thinking about somebody that doesn’t even think about me.”
A personal favorite, “Cover You Up” follows and ratchets up the energy another notch with the entrance of a catchy, driving guitar line and one of the more powerful choruses on the album. It strikes a chord with just about anyone that’s tried to forget someone from his or her past, or felt forgotten after the end of a meaningful relationship. Lambton declares “I’ve lost you, so I’ve got nothing to lose,” and the song gets even better when Knuckle Puck’s Joe Taylor makes a surprise appearance in the bridge.
“Old Book” is our first look into some of the softer songwriting of Real Friends. Aside from “I’ve Given Up On You” on the Put Yourself Back Together EP, we’ve known mostly the up-tempo brand of pop punk from Real Friends. This track is almost like an interlude within the album (just 1:36 long), but it powerfully describes someone who’s been battered and bruised to wind up in an unfamiliar place.
“Summer” and “Loose Ends” take us back to the high-energy songwriting. “Summer” is arguably the most solid track on the album, and it will surely have crowds belting out “I’ll get through the winter without you” at live shows. “Loose Ends” keeps driving the album and shows growth in acknowledging one’s own faults.
The second half of the album really gets into a new side of Real Friends’ songwriting. “Short Song”, “Sixteen”, “Spread Me All Over Illinois”, and “To: My Old Self” all combine new elements of tone and pace from the band. The songs all speak to new topics the band hasn’t covered, as well, focusing more on personal reflection than harping on the problems that occur in relationships.
To close out the album, “I Think I’m Moving Forward” picks the tempo back up in a song charged full of optimism and self-assurance. As the title suggests, Lambton sings about learning from past experiences and moving forward to become a stronger person.
“…And We’re Just Changing” brings the album full circle, explaining how all of us are always growing, and “living in the past has never helped me or anyone move forward.”
In promoting this album, Real Friends has explained that each time they find themselves back home, they’re surprised by how they’ve changed in their time away. This album is a journey through that development, and it’s a really exciting look into where the band is headed.
As we all get older, we begin to realize that what we once thought was perfect is actually anything but. We even learn that there really is no such thing as perfect. Maybe This Place Is the Same and We’re Just Changing speaks to that sentiment very effectively, making it another highly relatable album for fans.