Zach Ziskin plays an inoffensive brand of modern guitar pop, sort of like a 2000s Richard Marx, only without the hit singles. He has created a very clean and crisp-sounding record with strong pop sensibilities. Real As the Memory is as organic as mainstream guitar pop gets in 2002, with lots of acoustic guitar underpinning and nary a drum loop in sight. The disc is carried by the passionate vocals of Ziskin. Some listeners will be drawn in by his display of very heartfelt emotion, and some will find it to be a little too much. The most successful tracks are the ballads, like the waltzing "Waking Hour" and the quiet "The Jewel," which find Ziskin toning down the emotional intensity of his vocals a touch. The faster and louder tracks sound professional and have plenty of energy, but not much in the way of hooks. Ziskin's heart is certainly in the right place here and the music sounds great on the surface, but Real As the Memory is a mostly forgettable album.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra