Album Review: Real Numbers, Wordless Wonder
In its totality, it is difficult to pick out any one influence, but when listening all these bands and feelings came to mind: The Ventures meet The Buzzcocks, The Smiths, Blondie, being on a beach, being at a smoky New York nightclub somewhere during the late 70’ s to the early 80’s, and rockin’ out inside the belly of London’s underground post-punk scene! Don’t be misled. This is by no means a sound-a-like collection of songs, and each of the bands I mentioned here happen to be on my very own, very fussy and discerning list of bands I love.
“Frank Infatuation,” the first single released from the album, begins with a taunting, neener neener guitar riff that takes me back to a time I loved: when a song was a song, not a 12” repetitive wank. The lyrics are clever and relatable, featuring a jilted lover, some jealousy, a plan to get the girl back, and, well, you know the rest. The title track from the album Wordless Wonder counts itself in with a stratified instrumental sound, simple subject matter, and melancholic self-deprecating vocals. This simple, but memorable, melody, reminds me to mention the man behind the curtain. The producer of the album is Matt Castore, founder of A Harder Commune studio in St. Paul, Minnesota. Smoothly layered tracks, smart sound, skilled board operation, and echoing booth vocals, seem to be the trademark here and I like it! As I move through the album, every 2 or so minutes the boys produce another memorable ditty. You’re going to get more than one of these songs stuck in your head! Track 3 on the album, “Just So Far Away,” speeds things up a bit and at this point, I feel my punk rock heart swell. Real Numbers scores some serious points with me as I soak up their vibe, which is reminiscent of the punk rock/new wave band The Undertones from Ireland.
On lead vocals and guitar is gooey crooner Eli Hansen while John Eggerman and James Blackfield are keeping time for the band on bass on drums, respectively. Also featured is newly added member Ian Nygaard on lead guitar, which rounds out this proper sound perfectly.
The album features too many standouts to pick one, but my top three are “Just So Far Away,” “Wordless Wonder,” and “Frank Infatuation.” 10 tracks in all, each one catchy, smartly crafted, and worthy of a trip to your local record shop to purchase! Watch closely now! You are bound to see Real Numbers jump to the top of your list of bands you love. Their resurgence of honest, alternative songwriting is something both past and present generations have yearned for. Wordless Wonder is simply an unaffected return to real songwriting. Pick this album up on pre-order now!