Real Numbers have just released their latest record Wordless Wonder and it's a fusion of classic Indie Pop littered with Punk Rock vibes. Wrapped in a sweet bubble of Pop goodness that only Real Numbers can deliver, here's what was said when we met. But first...
Let's talk about the record. On Wordless Wonder it feels like the songs aim to reach for a certain “perfect Pop” ideal. This stretches across a glorious catalogue of sounds similar to the likes of Flying Nun and Sarah Records, and even towards contemporaries such as prolific sad-sacks like Mercury Girls or The Goon Sax.
And it's true. Real Numbers have obviously put in the hours pining over 80's Pop groups in the ilk of these labels and bands, and many further examples such as The Pastels or Beat Happening. The best example of this is Public Domain where the guitar strums, the rhythm and the vocals all have a Baby Honey feel, right?
But there's a little more to Wordless Wonder than this. Here we see an inspiring combination of the rough naïveté of Indie Pop (see Only Two Can Play, Frank Infatuation) with a Punk Rock tempo (see Just So Far Away, Up & About) which is both wicked and furious. Real Numbers are outcasts who play the music they want to play, and not what people want to hear. Wordless Wonder is only the first stages of Real Numbers reaching their "perfect Pop" ideal. There will be more to come. In the meantime, Third Outing caught up with Eli from the band to find out more...
Hey Real Numbers, give us the lowdown on the band?
Real Numbers started all the way back in 2007. That's when our first show was. It was far more punk back then but after the first recording session it immediately veered into UK DIY territory which dominated the sound of the next three releases. I started dabbling with Indie Pop back in 2011 with the Lures New Boy 7 inch but things really didn't come together until James (France Camp, Nice Purse) and Ian (Howler, Nice Purse) joined the band a few years ago. Where will it end? I suppose when I'm no longer interested in making music so probably never.
You're all in many different bands, but what other acts have made an impression on your music?
Television Personalities are #1. I've always enjoyed sad subject matter wrapped up in a playful package and with this Dan Tracey is king. You know when you hear a song that bubbles along and puts a spring in your step then, maybe years later, you stop and really think about the lyrics and what's being said, then it hits you that this pop song is depressing as hell? I love that.
Will Wordless Wonder be your masterpiece?
Time will tell! But I'd prefer that each release we make be better than the last, at least in my mind, even if commercially things ebb and flow. Recording Wordless Wonder was a long process. We laid down the guitar, bass and drums in 2015 then took a break to think about how each song should be produced, then went on a US tour and finished it up late 2015, early 2016. We've worked with Matt Castore many times and it's always a pleasure!
"When I'm not listening to Nick Gilder
or Black Sabbath I'm listening to Indie Pop"
The Goon Sax, Mercury Girls, Real Numbers. Indie Pop is alive, isn't it?
I'm of the camp that thinks it never died but rather fluctuates in popularity on 10 or so year long cycles. I think you'd agree that we may be riding a crest of a wave at the moment. But Indie Pop and me?...it's a music I like very much. When I'm not listening to Nick Gilder or Black Sabbath I'm listening to Indie Pop.
THE story which epitomises the band?
The greatest band story was cataloged in our MIX Zine interview and involves hot dogs and drugs here. There's some other good ones in there that all involve Chicago. We like Chicago. It's where stories happen.
Your favourite 3 chord song and why?
You Trip Me Up by The Jesus And Mary Chain. To keep a 3 chorder interesting you really have to craft your vocal melodies to a higher standard. When you realise the whole song is 3 chords that just makes the whole thing more special. Brute Force by the Prosecutors is also worthy of note.