Tinley Park, Illinois’ Real Friends have retained their pop-punk spirit while improving their own. The self-declared sad boys are known for their fast-paced riffs and rhythms that lend themselves time and again to cathartic, relatable narratives. “These songs are my therapy,” explained bassist/lyricist Kyle Fasel in a 2013 statement defending the band’s ever-present motifs of sleepy eyes and bony knees. Real Friends first shared their inner monologues in a slew of five self-released EPs between 2011 and 2013 before their debut full-length, 2014’s Maybe This Place Is the Same and We’re Just Changing.
Now they’re sharing the same sentiments with a healthier spin on “Mess.” The track comes from their sophomore LP, The Home Inside My Head, due May 27 via Fearless. Never forgetting where they’ve come from, singer Dan Lambton wails, “I’m still a lost boy. Last year I was a trainwreck, now I’m just a mess.” Of the song, Fasel tells SPIN:
“Mess” is a song about self examination. It’s about finding the light even in the darkest of rooms. The lyrical content has many moments of looking back and knowing that things get better. When I was younger it was always looking back and missing what I once had. But now I realize that the way I was, or the things I had, shaped me into who I am today. I find myself looking back in a more positive way. “Mess” is another chapter in getting better.
Keep on keepin’ on, Real Friends. Watch the video for “Mess” below, which was recorded during their recent $5 tour, and pre-order The Home Inside My Head here through Fearless, out May 27.