Sunday, July 18, 2004

Real Life - Imperfection

If you've never heard "Send Me An Angel," you may have been under a rock or heavily sedated in the 1980s. Many of those not in situation of the aforementioned lost souls may not know that the Real Life has recorded many albums since and are very much active. Their latest album, Imperfection, puts any rumors to rest.

The band has leaned their membership down to the duo of David Sterry and George Pappas at this point in their career. The lack of players hasn't affected the team's music unless it has created a bit more clarity of purpose. The disc leads with the pulse-pounding title-track. The song openings are rather curious here as they don't grab you in the first measures but build with chord progressions that seemingly make something where there didn't seem to be anything. This kind of craftsmanship appears throughout the album. Sterry's sensual, yearning vocals are as impressive as the writing. Songs like "Painless," "Another Brick In My Head " and "Kiss Like This" show sonic leaps, versatility and reluctance to hold on old habits. The only song that I could consider filler here is "Kamikaze" but you have to give points to a song that finds a way to use "apeshit" in a verse. The album closer, "Beautiful Thing," is probably my favorite new song of the year at this point in time. I believe this comes from a clever chorus that refrains vocally and smartly relies on a very haunting melody as well as strong production. One of the few times that the title describes the song aptly.

Imperfection is far from it's title but steps short of its opposite. Granted, the version reviewed was not the U.S. release which included the additional track and single "Oblivion." Real Life's new album is a treat for fans urging their return and varied enough to find interest in even a few under a rock or coming off medication.

4 out of 5