Rarely does an album renew my faith in music. Don’t You Fake It has made me a music fan all over again.
Picked up at a garage sale for only $1.oo, Don’t You Fake It by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has quickly grown into a love affair for me. Young, hard rocking, and enriched with punk influenced rock and roll, Don’t You Fake It is an exceptional album by a talented band.
The first thing that stands out on Don’t You Fake It is Jon Wilkes’ ability with the drum kit. This disc is packed with complex changes, heavy drum beats, and plenty of alternate timing, yet Wilkes never misses a beat. His talent behind the kit shines on this record and helps to elevate it to the next level of greatness.
The other stand out talent in The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is lead singer Ronnie Winter. With a voice like a cool breeze on a stifling hot day, Winter is a breath of fresh air. His vocal power is exceptional and smooth, pleasing to the ear, and exceptionally enjoyable.
Winter is also the lyricist of the group and the lyrics on Don’t You Fake It have a lot of meaning and thought provoking content. Most of the modern punk/emo bands lyrics center on pain, misery, and how hard it is to be a youth (in high school or college). While those are sometimes enjoyable, they aren’t lyrics that an older rocker (like myself) can relate to. Ronnie Winter doesn’t write that way. His lyrics are those that everyone can relate to, regardless of age. Ronnie Winter’s lyrics are timeless and that helps make Don’t You Fake It such a strong album.
Sounding like a hybrid of Thursday and Taking Back Sunday with a dash of the All American Rejects, Don’t You Fake It is a phenomenal debut album by an insanely talented group. Highlights on this record include Face Down, Damn Regret, and Your Guardian Angel.
Don’t You Fake It opens with the powerful In Fate’s Hands. A neat little riff from guitarist Duke Kitchens kicks off the lead track. Jon Wilkes drums dive in immediately after that and Ronnie Winter’s velvet voice fills the headphones, forcing the senses to come alive. In Fate’s Hands is an amazing album opener that will capture your attention immediately.
Once your caught, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus never let go. Don’t You Fake It is packed with nothing but solid songs and amazing hits. Face Down, one of the groups most known songs, is an ode to domestic violence and the best track on the record. The heavy riffs combined with Ronnie Winter’s powerful voice, and the deep meaningful lyrics blend to make a powerful song with an important message.
Damn Regret is a lighter song that opens with crashing drums, an insane guitar riff, and a very happy feel to it. The simplistic nature of Damn Regret is what makes it so much fun to listen to. A 4/4 time with limited chord changes provide the backbone of the song. Singing in the higher range of his vocal power, Ronnie Winter shows off his talents on this track. Damn Regret will have your foot tapping in no time.
Don’t You Fake It closes out with the only “ballad” of the album, Your Guardian Angel. The soft acoustic guitar and violin strings that lead off the song let the listener know immediately that this is the song where you can hold your girl and sing softly into her ear. The strings on an otherwise “rock instruments only” album is a nice addition. Your Guardian Angel adds depth to Don’t You Fake It and highlights the softer side of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Your Guardian Angel is a solid closer and an enjoyable end to an incredible debut record.
Don’t You Fake It is an album that I wished I had discovered years ago. It is modern rock at its finest and it leaves me yearning to hear more from this band. Expect to see a review of their sophomore album sometime in the near future.
Ryo’s Rating: 9 (out of 10)
In Fate’s Hands
Misery Loves Company
Cat And Mouse
Seventeen Ain’t So Sweet
Your Guardian Angel