Sound — 8
I thought good names for rockbands were over by the end of '70s... God, I was wrong... These five guys from Middleburg, Florida proved I was sooo wrong... Whatever they meant by naming themselves The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, it sounds hilarious and cool. It took them about 3 years to get a deal and release a debut album -- Don't You Fake It. It was a help of a producer David Bendeth (Hawthorne Heights and Breaking Benjamin) that encouraged the guys to make the sound better until the point he liked it. Singer Ronnie Winter says that starting a band the only thing they cared about was having a good time and thus they play music in a totally effortless way, creating their own style and changing directions even within one song. Guys shift between pop punk, metal and screamo so easily and courageously as if those two styles always came along together. Tracks often start as an aggressive punk-rock and explode into metal as tension grows towards the final. You can never guess the end of the track as the song structures are unpredictable. Instruments are multilayered creating a constant emotional intense. Busy drums are accomplished by a wall of guitars full of crunchy chords that are driving the songs. There are two so different ballads on the record -- Cat And Mouse is mellow and whining while Your Guardian Angel is gentle and soft. For teenage girls romantic Your Guardian Angel should be a killer as Winter sings in such an innocent voice I will never let you fall/I'll stand with you forever that makes you want to believe every single word. The track goes into heavy pounding half-way through in the best traditions of power ballads. Would be a good choice for the second single. Pessimistic Cat And Mouse with minor piano is on the emo side of the album. It annoys you as you start feeling sorry for the vocalist -- he sounds so unhappy and the howling choral on the background multiply the effect. Damn Regret is probably the most cheerful songs on Don't You Fake It. Listening to this happy sing-along it's hard to believe the guys just played metal a song or two ago.
Lyrics — 8
The songs subjects are deeper than you might think they are. Like the first single from the album Face Down, which is about guys violating girls. Frontman Ronnie Winter says he was like that himself once and, making a song about it, he's warning people not to make the same mistakes. Other songs also have deep interesting lyrics with the exception of maybe only pop-sweet Your Guardian Angel, which is more likely the commercial filling of the album. Vocalist Ronnie Winter hits high notes in Damn Regrets with a sharp voice of a teenager, singing like some pop idol and then switches to brutal screamo in Justify. He's got that manner of yearning emo vocals that would excite any emo fan.
Overall Impression — 8
The album is full of contrasts between different music styles and emotional conflicts, showcasing the diversity of the band. And on the other side it's so organic that it all blends into one solid record. They don't try to lock themselves into one style and label their music to follow the success of somebody who did it before them. That's the energy of a young inspired band that drives their music. Though a lot of songs sound much alike and the band avoids experimenting for some reasons. The music needs more fresh ideas as there are a few stand outs on the record, but most of the songs seem like a filler. Unfortunately the catchiest song on the record is silly pop-punk Damn Regrets. I wish there were more killer guitar lines and catchy melodies in heavier songs. A huge advantage of the band is in lyrics -- not too many musicians out there dare to make a song about domestic abuse and write about some serious subjects different from their love relationship.