REAL DEAL!, THE: Hungover, But Dead Sober: CD

Oct 06, 2008

No, seriously, I get it. Songs about “dream girls” and wishing someone would buy you booze, all set to the backdrop of the kind of ska/punk-lite mergings that flooded the scene back in the mid-to-late ‘90s. Closest comparison I could come up with is a sweeter-sounding, more innocent version of Link 80, though they were pretty manic most of the time and The Real Deal very rarely get super fast and never get past three on the Toughometer. The snotty vocals do work in their favor, and on songs like “Bushido’s Way,” where they really start spitting lyrics out quickly, they begin running the risk of treading into Against All Authority-land, which isn’t necessarily a bad place to visit. Unfortunately it’s a rare stop, and said vocals are discounted and eventually rendered null by the cute little cartoon monsters all over the packaging that look like they were culled from some kid’s cereal box. And there are no lyrics, they’re apparently sponsored by a videogame company, and the whole thing eventually blends into one long “kind of punk-sounding song with a ska part.” I’m not saying I need everything all rough-hewn and brutal all the time, but there’s just too much saccharine and too many plasticine edges here. I would’ve probably loved this sixteen or seventeen years ago, but simple youthful exuberance will only carry my sagging ass so far these days.

 –keith (Union)