Reviews & Suggestions

CD Review: Surreal Nation “I Know Better”

Surreal Nation is an Indie/Alt-Rock band that makes their home in the town of Smyrna, Delaware. The band consists of guitarist Paul Joseph, vocalist Nikki Nation, Jackson Vari (lead guitar), bassist Kevin Curry and drummer Gene Nelson. And while the musical ensemble currently creates that Indie/Alt-Rock style, Paul Joseph and Nikki Nation began the group as a simple duo that had been playing acoustic folk music. But with the addition of the rest of the group, the band’s sound began to take shape.

The band’s sound has continued to evolve as the band has gone along. Just recently, the band of Surreal Nation (a blending of the last names of the founding members) has created a new yet-to-be-released EP of music that helps to capture their sound. The new release from the band is called I Know Better.

For their new EP of I Know Better, Surreal Nation created a release that seems to tell a story. Each of the five tracks that make up the EP tell one part of the storyline contained within the release.

The first track on the newest release from Surreal Nation is the song “Would You Do Me The Honor of Becoming My Mexican Divorce?” The track features a strong, driving pace to the music as the vocalist Nikki Nation sings about making contact with someone she wants to get to know. With the clicking of the drumsticks at the beginning of the track, the track shows off the truly ensemble feel of the band. The inclusion of the guitar solo that features a slightly off-key tuning add to the band’s Indie Rock feeling.

Surreal Nation slows the pace down if only for a moment on the title track of the release. “I Know Better” starts off slow for the first minute or so before the band picks up the pace. Throughout the nearly six-minute playtime, the track changes tempos several times going from the original slow, gentle pace to the faster tempo. The lyrics to the song deal with the singer realizing she had made a mistake. Throwing him out, she then says she won’t make the same mistake by letting him back in. “I know Better” feels as much like part of a story as it feels like an anthem for women who are taking their lives back from abusive relationships.

With the song “I Can Feel the Night,” Surreal Nation changes the sound of their music. Instead of Indie Rock, the track takes on a musical approach that is closer to straight-out Rock and Roll that would have felt right at home in the eighties. The timeless feeling of the Rock and Roll from the band mixed with the vocals from Nikki Nation create a track that recalls the music of someone like The Motels who had a few hits in that decade. The “I Can Feel the Night” has enough of a commercial appeal to it that you could still imagine the track being played on Hot Adult Contemporary radio formats today. “I Can Feel the Night” ends up being one of the standout tracks on the five-song EP.

I Know Better from Surreal Nation continues with the track “Hangtime”. With this track, the band takes a more relaxed approach to their music as the song contains a slower pace to the music as well as a gentler feel to the intensity. The track finds the singer reflecting on the whole situation and what she’s going to do. The title of the song deals with the amount of time a person exists between the end of one situation and the time when everything simply falls apart.

The new EP of I Know Better from Surreal Nation comes to a close with the song “Spirit is Silent”. The track features music that, once again, has a gentle pace to the music. This time, however, the slightly jazzy feel of the music creates a definite Indie Rock sound. The gentle pace to the music goes well with the lyrics that find the singer coming to grips with the whole situation with her relationship and trying to move forward. With the gentle feel of the music, the track gives Nikki Nation the opportunity to show off the natural beauty in her vocals. The easy feel of the song and the slight feeling of closure in the lyrics easily makes the song of “Spirit is Silent” feel perfect as the final track of the five-song release.

I Know Better from Surreal Nation is a short, yet enjoyable release. While coming together to create a storyline, several of the songs could easily stand on their own. With the EP only consisting of five songs, the listener is left wanting for more. But sometimes, like with this release from Surreal Nation, that is a good thing because it means we will be paying attention for when there is more.

For a taste of the music from Surreal Nation, check out the video to “I Can Feel the Night“.

For more information, check out the band’s PR Firm, Whiplash PR.

The I Know Better EP from Surreal Nation is not yet available. The EP will be released early in 2018. Check out the band’s Facebook profile for updates on when the album will be available.