Suburban Legends - Dreams Aren't Real, But These Songs Are, Vol. 1 [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Suburban Legends

Dreams Aren't Real, But These Songs Are, Vol. 1 [EP] (2013)

Rock Ridge Music

Suburban Legends have been through a lot. The tragic 2005 death of trombone player Dallas Cook was undoubtedly a dark period, and the constant lineup changes have led to shifts in the band's musical direction over the years. Vincent Walker's turn as vocalist has always appealed more to me than Tim Maurer's, but overall the band's entire discography strikes me relatively well. Infectious was the best effort these pop-punk ska-bangers put forth thus far, and after hearing so many friends speak about their awesome Disneyland performances, Dreams Aren't Real, But These Songs Are, Vol. 1, as a cover of some memorable and classic Disney-film songs, seemed to have the recipe to win me over further. Well, this EP does just that.

Walker's voice fits the ska bill perfectly. They combine the usual trumpets, trombones and all the tools needed to make a kick-ass ska album. Multiple backup vocalists, including bassist Brad Polidori, add the ideal spine to Walker's enchanting and captivating turn on the genre and it's apparent on "DuckTales" just how good they are. What's highly appealing is that you feel how much they enjoy and love doing what they're doing. The EP is fun and the band inject a lot of warmth into these nostalgic and somewhat juvenile tunes. This is exemplary of how Surburban Legends take heed from bands like Streetlight Manifesto, Big D and The Kids Table, Less Than Jake and of course, Reel Big Fish, while sticking to their guns and carving out their own sound.

They flavor even more pop-punk into the mix this time around, using Brian Klemm's speedy guitars and intricate spate of solos effectively. "Colors Of The Wind" starts off a bit more haunting and grave a la the Pocahontas story but as the riffs build to the ska-setting, Walker marches on with class, charisma and energy. The catchiness and anthemic salutations are felt even further on "Beauty and the Beast." It's impressive how much soul Walker puts into his performance amid jovial chords, slick hooks and melodic instrumentals.

Chances are, once you don't take the record seriously, and you're up for some throwbacks with the kids or family, you'll enjoy this. If you're bitter and alone, you can pop this in and laugh as you recall watching these movies and shows as a kid. Six tracks and this record reminds me of a better time - a much more endearing period of life. It's a time machine. The soundtrack for this journey is spunky, badass ska. It's got something for everyone.