ArtistRack Reviews ‘I Know Better’ by SURREAL NATION

ArtistRack Reviews 'I Know Better' by SURREAL NATION

Surreal Nation congregates a 5-set ensemble of musicianship on their newest EP “I Know Better” meshing deliberate professional sound originating from the folk and rock genres.

The throwback tonality of their music relates to a 60’s aura of instrumentation that engulfs each sound sector while simultaneously paying homage to the alternative facets of music. The indie focal point of their vision is an indicator of the inspirational attitude each band member encapsulates throughout their creative gateways.

Furthermore, the dynamic guitar picking patterns progress in irregular cadence unique to the overall visionary compositions. The complex soundscapes reinforce a powerful essence throughout each portion of the EP that integrates significant ambiance over the singles. In addition, the percussion provided a live set temperament that executes in real time with the rhythmic sections and elaborate arpeggiated features.

The cognizant songwriting faculties this band possesses is unprecedented as they continue to produce timeless songs that transcend the traditional norms of musical achievement. The band’s interconnected nature intuitively composes at a higher level where each member is in sync with each other while maintaining a deeper understanding of their melodious roles within the collective unification.

Surreal Nation is a top-tier group pushing the possibilities of musical discovery to further realms of auditory developments

You Can listen to ‘I Know Better’ by SURREAL NATION here:

Press Release:

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of time before all the right pieces come together to create an indie/alt rock powerhouse. Just a few years ago, guitarist Paul Joseph and vocalist Nikki Nation were performing as an acoustic folk duo at a small restaurant in their hometown of Smyrna, Delaware. Now, with the addition over the past few years of Jackson Vari (lead guitar), bassist Kevin Curry and drummer Gene Nelson, Surreal Nation – whose name blends Paul’s and Nikki’s given last names – rocks throughout their home state and everywhere from Philly to NYC. They’ve also opened for nationally recognized touring artists like Jeff Ruby (Nashville) and Days N Dayze (Houston). Their dynamic new EP I Know Better marks a high point of their evolution into to a multi-faceted five piece band.

Paul and Nikki first met when their sons were on the same soccer team in 2011 For three years, while Paul played keys in another band, they were just good acquaintances while their boys became friends. One day when Nikki was in Paul’s house talking to his wife, he began noodling with Dashboard Confessional’s “Hands Down” and heard Nikki singing along. Impressed with her vocals, he invited her over to sing again. She joined him at one of his gigs and soon the two were a full-fledged duo, playing at open mics and coffee shops before getting the restaurant gig. They performed this way for a year. Then, seeking a bigger sound with deeper grooves in the hopes of gaining more high profile gigs, in 2015, after some auditioning they brought on Jackson Vari.

“Adding Jackson on the bass gave us the fuller sound that we were looking for,” Paul says. “As a duo, I used to say we were like Iron and Wine but with a female singer. Once Jackson joined, we quickly realized that we can be more diverse, and stand apart from other bands, by switching instruments. He and I would switch between electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and bass. At that point, I would define our sound as folk-rock with a blues influence. We recorded our second EP Wash Me Clean as a trio and released it in early 2016. Seeking a more organic drum sound, we added Gene at the end of 2016, and Kevin joined shortly thereafter. Our sound got heavier and faster, and we knew our Iron and Wine days were behind us. The chemistry between the five of us is incredible and has taken our music to places Nikki and I couldn’t have imagined just a few years earlier.”  

The I Know Better EP reflects a confident, focused unit that’s long past its days of switching off lead singers and trying to find its place in the indie music world. With Paul and Jackson as chief songwriters, Surreal Nation penned the five songs as a concept recording of sorts, trying to keep the same theme throughout. Creating haunting, noir-ish imagery, they created a single female character who is navigating her life in Hollywood during its golden age. They bring raucous energy to the playfully titled “Would You Do Me the Honor of Being My Mexican Divorce,” about a quest for true love instead of just expensive trinkets of affection. The band shifts tempos from cool and sensual to a more propulsive rhythm on the title track, about the woman’s understanding that she’s charting dangerous territory in her latest relationship – but is all in anyway. Other highlights are the edgy, percussive “I Can Feel The Night,” about a descent into despair, but pushing through as the night fades away and daylight dawns; and “Spirit Is Silent,” a deeply soulful ballad that takes a hard look at a loved one with substance abuse issues. Its key line is, “My spirit has gone silent in the absence of you.   

Capturing the essence of I Know Better, Paul says, “These songs were written over a time period that began with Jackson and I both being in dark places in our lives, but ended with us coming out of those places and being better for having those experiences.”