The RA-6600 – Followed A Boy – EP Review
You know something…in a world that is currently overstuffed with heavy issues & politics, I gotta say – it’s nice to take a break from all that with the blissful pop/indie melodies of The RA-6600. We’ve been following this band from the Hembot Records family for some time now…I think the first review dates back to mid-2015…and ever since, The RA-6600 has gone on to put out at least another three records that we know of and remain one of the most active bands in the independent scene in addition to being a most-welcome name on my playlist any time I see them pop up on it.
If you’re familiar with the bright & playful attitude in the music of The RA-6600, you’ll be immediately rewarded with the inviting sound of the title-track; “Followed A Boy” is like an instant, sweet reunion with a sound that’s always welcome to the ears. With a ramped-up piano guiding the energy in the melody and the beat never letting go of the momentum – The RA-6600 quickly get their new EP moving with the fantastic blend of pure passion, energy and melody you’ve come to know & love from this band. Really smart mixes on their vocals…that’s something this band has always had as well…but something about the way they approach their production gives it a real classic vibe threaded into their indie-pop sound…whatever it is, it remains one of my favorite dimensions of The RA-6600. Wherever there’s a melody to be found within the framework of the short & sweet – believe me, this band tracks it down and gets the absolute maximum out of it. Even the simplest of hooks like an ‘ah’ or an ‘ooo’ from this band finds a way to going from ordinary to extraordinary; I’ve always felt the genuine magic between the writing and execution in this band and “Followed A Boy” started out this all-new experience with comforting, appreciated familiarity that reminded me instantly just how much I freakin’ love this band. Glad they’re back!
The piano takes a more chilled-out approach to “Stay” but their ability to innovate an innocent pop-melody never wavers. Dragging out the vocals and really singing this one out, the style itself ends up becoming a hook with the way it’s sung. Clever stuff…tons of the hallmarks of what makes indie-pop one of the most vibrant & entertaining genres out there, but also what makes it one of the most sincere in intention, ambitions and atmosphere. “Stay” is quite a beautiful track really…personally I like the way-up-high vocals that form the chorus hook on this one a lot. The verse comes out sweet, thick & rich…very full in its bright-confidence and there’s no questioning that, I think everyone would love the way those sound; as far as the chorus goes…I think 99% of the people out there with a brain in their head would respond to the honest way they’ve tackled the vocals on “Stay.” They’re right on the target for their tone, attitude and energy as far as I’m concerned…they might not have the most rounded-corners but that’s what gives them their authentic emotional-edge through the delivery. Smart atmosphere in the music, built on piano but often left to organ & cymbal sounds to create the music – again, The RA-6600 don’t exactly play like the other kids in the sandbox do but they sure come out with impressive, unique songs and stunning results!
“Take A Look Around” in many ways might be the obvious choice for a lead-single. With its quick shuffle into gear, space-laser synth-sounds and bright & sunny vocal-melodies, it’s actually kind of tough to not like this tune! Like…as in you’d probably have to fight yourself mentally to not get into this groove. That being said…there is a part of me that feels like “Take A Look Around” is the kind of composition that The RA-6600 might be able to put together in their sleep at this point. What sells us on “Take A Look Around” and many of their tunes is the sheer passion they put into each moment – as a result whether it’s familiar sounding, all-new or all-out bizarre, they seem to have no problem pulling off a win no matter which direction they choose. Great timing, fantastic drums, excellent backup-vocals and overall energy that never quits once it kicks-in, “Take A Look Around” is a lot of fun…loaded right to the brim in sweetness in the vocal-tones throughout the verse to the point where just listening to this tune could give you a cavity!
Sweet is one thing, but I’ll take sincere over sweetness any day of the week. Not to say that The RA-6600’s sweetness ISN’T sincere…that’s not what I’m saying…I suppose I just like my tunes a little more melancholy or, well, sad. Ha! Here I am thinking out loud and learning about myself…I should find a way to get to the point… Right! I mean…listen to “Once Upon A Time!”
Did you do it? I’m kind of relying on you to – having a listen to “Once Upon A Time” would build my case for this tune far better than I can explain it. Essentially…this is the sound of The RA-6600, or that gear they click into…whatever you want to call it, this is the sweet-spot for what works for me personally in this band. Listen to the poetic way the lyricism works here! “Once Upon A Time” contains a lot of personal insight, observations and emotions – but have a real close listen and hear how much the words really change throughout the entire flow…it’s truly exceptional and definitely one of the strongest tunes and highlights on the Followed A Boy EP. I think the verse is outstanding on this tune and I think the chorus really provides that release from the self-reflection and story of the pain of love perfectly. When the words “I been phased out” come out of the speakers here at the studio, each time it’s like a piercing dagger through the heart…this song comes out incredibly well-realized and hits the mark entirely. Anyone who’s ever been a part of a love that’s dissolved is bound to feel this one right in the pit of their soul…it’s beautifully sad, sincere and a brilliant mix of melancholy lyricism that is almost tragically descriptive. “Once Upon A Time” is packed full of authentic emotion…you can hear & feel how real this one is and that strength in the connection between the tone & the words is right on-point to make an impact on the hearts of anyone listening.
Somewhere in the middle of Architecture In Helsinki, The Beatles and The Fountains Of Wayne, The RA-6600 exists and thrives. “Cool Kids” finishes their new EP with the playful sweetness in which it began, albeit a bit more chill to let us down gently as we exit from this latest experience with The RA-6600. Drums in this band deserve a lot of credit…they’re always incredibly well pronounced, crisp & clear; they never hog the sound of what we hear but instead really offer something worth listening to the entire way though. Clever weaving of the vocal-rhythm, flow and melody on this final tune; whether it’s the verse or the chorus, the performance on this last cut is highly entertaining. I dig “Cool Kids” as an ending to Followed A Boy – it’s a tender finale and melody that they really wear well…very much The RA-6600 sound/style that we know and love. There’s never anything wrong with something more of what you love when it comes to music as far as I’m concerned – and once again, The RA-6600 has delivered on their sweet potential & promise with another set of sparkling songs on Followed A Boy.
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