Five young kids gathered in 2016 and wanted to make an indie pop group called Reality Club. Hey, it was a simple wish, wasn’t it? With the social media power of its frontwoman, Fathia Izzati or famously known as @kittendust and their catchy tunes, Reality Club transform as one of the rising pop group on Indonesia’s indie music scene. Our dear friend from Coldiac, hooked us up with the band’s debut album CD titled “Never Get Better” and we put it on heavy spin to determine whether they are worth the hype or not. Containing 13 tracks in total, the CD of “Never Get Better” has a simple packaging accompanied with lyrics sheet as well as polaroid pics of the members on its sleeve. Faiz Novascotia, Era Patigo, Nugi Wicaksono, Iqbal Anggakusumah and Fathia Izzati crafted a sound that centers around dream pop, a little bit of Britpop, and lyrics that mostly talk about love. Well, it is the easiest and lightest thing to talk about right? Especially when you are young, free, and full of creativity like these people on Reality Club.
Opened with one of their biggest hit to date “Elastic Heart”, the album takes off on a promising start. This song catapults the band into the top tier of indie bands in Indonesia and we could clearly see why. The unique phrase, catchy hooks, and easy to follow melodies helped this song to warm you up to the rest of this album. “Things I Don’t Know” continues the mid-tempo pop song that they come up with since the first track. This time, Faiz takes the lead vocal, with Fathia as the backing vocal. “Shouldn’t End This Way” is one of the slow tempo track in this album and we like the fact that the vocal sounds more rounded in this one. Whether it’s the different mixing and mastering part, or more layering, the recording sounds less flat. “Cursive Curses” reminds us a little bit of Arctic Monkeys’ discography on their early days with the guitar riffs. “Fatal Attraction” is a pleasant track since and Fathia puts her bubbly vocal to a good use. On the live performance of this track, she rather gives the shouting part to Faiz instead since it’s quite a difficult note to hit with stable vocal.
“Hesitation” is actually nice, but both vocals on this track do not stand out much. They choose to play safe and we feel the instruments overpower both voices. From now on, this phenomena often happens on the rest of the tracks in this album. We thought it only happens on their physical release, but we also listen to their tracks on digital platforms and it turned out to sound exactly the same. “Okay” is also a hard mid-tempo track to tackle, those falsetto must be too hard to be achieved on live performance. Faiz sounds more prominent on the track that should be able to give Fathia the spotlight. “Mentors” sees the band trying to slow down the pace by giving the dynamics to this album. Albeit forgettable, this song could end up on your midnight playlist, just like the next track “A Graceful Retreat”.
“For A Lack of Better Word” might gives us major cringe for their pronunciation, but bingo for their effort to rhyme the words that actually make sense. This number sounds 100% better on live performances as opposed to the recorded version. Their debut and biggest hit to date “Is It The Answer?” becomes the eleventh track on this album and as usual, it got us hyped. It sounds better mixed and mastered compared to other tracks that we have mentioned earlier. The vocals and instruments do not overlap each other, so Reality Club, if you’re reading this, this is how other tracks are supposed to sound. Not to mention, this song will stick around on your brains for a long time. “Never Get Better” which is also the title of this album belongs to Faiz and he eats this up like it’s a piece of cake. If only his voice can be heard louder and clearer, this track could be enjoyed a lot more. “Epilogue” becomes the closing track and choosing a slow tempo song like this one is a great choice. Serving lo-fi and chill ambience, the instrumental track oozes calm but chaotic thoughts at the same time.
Overall the five piece unit from Jakarta delivered their music fairly. They are like a mix between VARSITY, The Cardigans and No Vacation. As a note, although the record has a lot of room for improvements especially on their mixing mastering part, Reality Club bring back the fun on indie pop genre. Sometimes, musicians try too hard to present a serious image through their music until they forget to have fun and enjoy making and performing their music. “Never Get Better” is available on physical and digital format. Check out @realityclub to catch up with Fathia and co on their latest schedule and info.