It’s an ’80s dance party with The Realistics! If this record had come out when I was in high school, I would have worn through six copies of it trying to get Tania Kraft to dance with me. (She never did.) This album, the first ever on Tiswas Records, has little chunks of every good white dance band of that sainted time; there’s a strong J. Geils Band (the Seth Justman years) vibe to burners like “Turning Around,” a great Hall and Oates thing happening with the soulful falsetto on “Should’ve Known,” and all kinds of early Police on “Starvation Days.”
But it’s not fakey ’80s cheese in the least — The Realistics put some heart and grit into all these tunes, and I strongly dig them. And here and there on this record, you can actually hear a band find a sound that doesn’t owe anything to any particular decade; “New Direction Dive” has a hard-charging Standells vibe with some bleepy synths that probably didn’t exist before ’93, and “Four-Letter Word For” is just everything good about music thrown into a blender together with The Romantics (who I always hated but I’m starting to appreciate more and more) and a sweet early-Who intertwining vocal feel before devolving into an “Ooh la la la” right out of ? and the Mysterians. And yet, after you hear this disc a few times, it just sounds like Realistics music.
I can’t even imagine what they’d be like live, but apparently they’re better than on disc. Buy this album, and if you can’t afford it, go get a job.