Having made a name for themselves with their sophomore release (and first with Fearless Records), The Home Inside My Head, Real Friends had some high expectations to meet with their third outing, Composure.

Instrumentally, the band seems to have taken less chances this time around; they’ve picked a format to their songs without much deviation along the way. Vocalist Dan Lambton sounds a bit more gruff this time around, however – perhaps channeling the likes of The Story So Far and Polar Bear Club – and it works mostly. Some of the melody seems to be lost along the way though, which could have easily been counterbalanced with the use of group vocals; sadly, this tool is essentially ignored during Composure.

However, tracks like “Me First” and “From the Outside” are so striking that these small complaints start to become overshadowed throughout the album (albeit, somewhat scattered). But with only ten tracks, it can be damaging to have several entries that don’t land strongly enough (“Stand Steady” and “Hear What You Want” are prime examples of solid songs that don’t leave much of an impression). As a result, Composure is a patchwork hit; there are some really great moments here, along with some that are just good enough. Does this beat out the band’s last release? Probably not, but it’s still a good record to bide your time.

Purchase the album here.

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