Released April 24th—Tooth & Nail Records
Detroit’s Rocky Loves Emily has grown up a lot in the last year. In 2010 the band released American Dream, an EP loaded with sugary pop-rock songs. While the songs were fun, they were quickly forgotten. After the release of American Dream, it seems that the band spent a little time growing as individuals and as a band. With Secrets Don’t Make Friends, the band proves that they’ve improved as both musicians and songwriters.
From the opening riff of “I Don’t Like You”, you can tell that something has changed since American Dream. Everything sounds more raw and natural – thanks in part to producer Matt Grabe (The Summer Set, The Maine) encouraging the band to record the album as live as possible to capture a more rock sound. “Drivin’ Me Crazy” is another rocker complete with crowd vocals and flashy guitars. Next up is the title track, one of the most poppy songs on the album. Just like the music video, “Secrets Don’t Make Friends” is the kind of song you’d hear playing at a summer pool party. “Oil & Water” is one of the biggest surprises of the album; more country than rock, “Oil & Water” perfectly wraps up the first part of the album.
Single “Be Mine Tonight” is another highlight of the album. Still keeping with the organic rock sound, the band tastefully uses synths and electronics to flesh out the song. On “Guilty, Guilty” the band mixes their old and new sound. RLE slows it down a bit on “Dream”, as vocalist Brandon Ellis evaluates his life over soft piano and acoustic guitar until the rest of the band comes in to close the song.
“Nightmare”, “The One You’re Searching For”, and “It’s Not Me, It’s You” all follow the same pop-rock formula as the others. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing – each song is perfect summer music and a lot of fun. The second big surprise is the album closer – “The Root Of All Evil”. With a sound very different from the rest of the album, “Root” is more of a jam-rock tune with a heavy dose of electronics.
With their first full-length release, Rocky Loves Emily proves that they shouldn’t be written off as another generic pop-rock band. The real test is whether they can continue to grow, and surpass this album with their next. This album is a ton of fun, and now that the sun is out I’m sure I’ll be listening to it a lot more. That being said, I’m very excited to hear what the band has next.
- I Don’t Like You
- Drivin’ Me Crazy
- Secrets Don’t Make Friends
- Oil & Water
- Be Mine Tonight
- Guilty, Guilty
- The One You’re Searching For
- It’s Not Me, It’s you
- The Root Of All Evil