The album Skinn, by the one and only Reality Suite, is exciting for a number of reasons. At it’s core, this particular collection of songs touches on a very specific and often meaningful set of ideas, and yet surrounding the concept are a vast and skillful array of creative rock melodies and riffs.
It’s clear from the first minute or so of Wingman that you’re in for a ride. The music doesn’t merely play, expecting your attention, it reaches out through the speakers and pulls you right in. With finely tuned production in all corners, there was no room for a poor performance from anyone involved – so the result is a pretty flawless collection of musicianship.
Die Dreaming is where things take a dip into the slightly deeper side of the stream, lyrically. And yet, this is the point at which the music seems the most accessible – there’s something very melodically pop-rock about this track; the opening riff, the vocal melody, the isolated voice, the stops and starts, the hook. It’s a little toned down from the opening track, in terms of the whole rock sound, but it’s a great direction to go – the eclectic range of music ahead of you is made clear, and it’s exciting. There’s never a dull moment.
The band follow the structure of what you might call clever or effective song writing, but they also do much more than this – they allow their creative minds to wander off with them a little; they allow their performances to travel away on a tangent, always returning to that hook or that familiarity – so the audience always knows where they are, knows who they’re listening to, and maintains that faith in the band to keep them listening, again and again.
The title track Skinn seems to be a real moment of power for lead singer Kimmii Heart – the vocal performance is huge, soft yet striking, beautifully melodic, and really just loaded to the brim with sensational notes and vocal inflections. It’s a track that sounds great regardless, but for fans of real, classic, melodic rock music – this could well be the moment you’re hooked.
It’s a tough track to follow, but then you get Conspire – a personal favourite, and a massive moment within the album. There’s a gentle and vulnerable nature to this at first, but it’s swiftly blown out of the water by a deep, dark, and distorted hook section. That fusion of the hopeful and the melancholic is a brilliantly captivating way to craft a song. Those ideas and songs at the heart of this album shine brightly here, whilst simultaneously drenching you in rock riffs and unforgettable melodies, not to mention a blissfully organic sounding bridge section – a guitar solo to die for, and a real moment to wonder about and plan for a live show from Reality Suite.
As you make your way through the tracks on Skinn, you’ll find there’s a whole lot of inescapably addictive song writing, fused with an intense yet delicate array of musical performance. There’s a lot to love about the freedom of rock music, the unexpected paths it travels down, the carefree attitude and outlook of the artists. When you combine this with great songwriting; compelling, memorable, even catchy – you’re in for a quality experience.
As mentioned, the songs that have been chosen for this project all seem to sit well together in this ocean of particular ideas, so once you’ve gotten past the desire to rock out and revel in the sound, you can then dive in and find yourself submerged in a world of reflective lyricism. It’s escapism, creatively constructed, with a great pop-rock sound, and some really impressive song writing.
Vegas Holiday brings the weight, the heavy distortion, the crashing drums, all the while holding onto that familiar and easy to listen to leading vocal. It’s interesting to note the placement of the vocal in the recording actually, unlike a lot of punk-pop or melodic-rock bands of recent years, Reality Suite seem to treat the vocal as an instrument – everything is of equal importance, everything fuses together, operates as a unit, and it really sounds much more genuine this way. The guitar solo steps forward for it’s moment, as does the vocal when all else breaks away, as do the drums – a fair few times throughout the project – nothing is there just for the sake of it, and nothing outweighs the value of anything else. It actually adds a little of that 90’s grunge sound to the mix.
Manchester is peacefully thoughtful and comforting to listen to, really letting you drift off into your own little world. Then you get the sharp contrast between Heart’s vocal and David Marcus’ featured vocal. It works well, it has a sort of power ballad, driving anthem sound to it. Playing With Fire brings those stylish riffs back into focus. The vocal placement within the lines makes the storytelling stand tall. There’s an indie-meets-pop vibe about this track – another massive melody, riding around in your mind long after the music has stopped. A little of that guitar peddle play adds a smart touch of freshness as well.
Sinking In has a massively minimal sound to it, which is to say – there’s not as much going on for the most part, there’s a lot of space in the track, but it has the effect of making you want to fill those gaps; it gets you moving, singing along, desperately wanting to learn the lyrics. It’s got a great sound to it that will get you geared up for something big.
Penultimate track The Red Lights has a beautiful, acoustic softness to it, and a poetic nature to the lyrics. A great point within the project to break things down a little. Then it all comes to a close with Save My Life. The essence of pop-rock takes centre stage, an uplifting arrangement of chords, a mellow beat, leading towards a climax, and yet again – a stunning use of melody, in both the verses and the chorus. The whole track just sounds good; optimistic, hopeful, yet lyrically standing firmly on it’s own two feet. A great send off for the album; the perfect end to an all round impressive collection of entertaining and addictive songs.
Find and follow Reality Suite on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Instagram, and subscribe over on Youtube. Grab the album via iTunes, and check out more music on the band’s Website. Meanwhile, this is Die Dreaming..