Real Life


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George Pappas joins his friend drummer Danny Simcic and founder David Sterry to form a new incarnation of Real Life -- and the cover speaks volumes. The head that looks like a scary, puffy fish is indicative of the new direction of the music. Still very much in the synth pop vein, but now with a dangerous, dark gothic edge brought to the table by Pappas. While there is no immediate classic here in the vein of "Catch Me I'm Falling" or "Babies," "Everything Explodes" is an instant hit single -- geared both for listening and the dancefloor. Its infectious vibe is very much in keeping with the old Real Life, while announcing the new direction the band would be taking. Gone are the carefree days of "No Shame" and "Send Me An Angel" -- the new territory being mined would include "Virus," "Girl Jesus," and "Skin" -- all of which sound exactly as their titles would suggest. The band verges more on industrial darkwave than synth pop now and it is fitting that "Happy" finds them anything but. This is a dark, brooding record, but one which would craft the persona of Real Life for the next decade. Still very hook-laden, still very danceable -- but darker, more ominous and definitively more goth. Happy came with a very rare bonus disc of even darker dancefloor remixes, available only in limited edition.

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