Juxtaposing melancholy lyrics with danceable guitar riffs is all the rage. Screaming for hope, Real Friends is no exception. Musicianship and production are clean, leaving the gritty vocals to shine uninhibited by the could-be chaos of the classic pop punk format. Songs like “Ripcord” and “Me First” ooze furious poetry, which is exactly what this summer needs. Meanwhile “Unconditional Love,” the designated slow jam, grants us solidarity in honest, messy, addicting companionship enabled by our vices and faults. Overall, Composure lacks surprising or original content to make it stand out, but it is such a well-mastered emo album that I don’t even mind.
Producer: Mike Green