RFA has generated a huge buzz in the Philly region as of late. Made up of college students Alec Powell (drums), Brendan McHale (bass), Christian Turzo, (guitar), and Dan Cousart (vocals/guitar), the four-piece plays old-school rock n’ roll with the reckless abandon the genre requires. Especially in an era where the definition of rock music has become a bit too broad for some, RFA’s distorted, vibrant sound has attracted attention from the average listener as well as major Philly-area radio stations like Radio 104.5 and WXPN. Their latest EP, Something New From RFA, showcases a band that’s beginning to reap the rewards of all their hard work.
Though Something New From RFA is a collection of five fully fledged rock n’ roll tracks, it might have you fooled the upon the first listen. Opening track “Saturday, January 24” is a gentle intro that begins with only vocals and an acoustic guitar. It eventually expands into the full band, but the song’s mellowed out vibe contrasts with the high energy cuts found on the rest of the EP. “Saturday, January 24” continues straight into “I’m Not Telling You”, a breezy track that sounds ready for summer road trips and beach parties. Here, RFA settles into the catchy, effortless style of garage rock that’s become their signature. “What’s Your Name”, a fast-moving track propelled by guitars, calls back to This Is It-era Strokes; think of tracks like “Barely Legal” or “Hard to Explain” for comparison. “Indigo” is an instant standout of true-blue indie rock, drawing similarities to Catfish & The Bottlemen and The Killers‘ early work.
In a nice contrast to Something New’s mellow introduction, RFA save their biggest burst of energy for last with “Swell”, the EP’s closing track. “Swell” seems to pay homage to the Philly basement scene RFA has grown up in, especially with its mosh worthy outro. Fuzzy, loud, and manic, “Swell” has a bright future ahead as a fan favorite, and will surely be a highlight of RFA’s upcoming live shows.
To a first time listener, it might seem that RFA doesn’t bring anything groundbreaking to the table. Girls and parties are some of the most overused lyrical subjects across all music genres, and Something New is made up entirely of songs that touch on those two topics. RFA isn’t exactly revolutionary in terms of their musical style either- countless other acts with a similar sound have come and gone, especially within the last decade. But Something New, and by extension RFA, is special because of the immense potential it shows. For a band made up of full time students, RFA is already putting out music as professional and polished as the well-established acts they’re often compared to. Something New From RFA may not really have much “new”, but give their music the time and attention it deserves and RFA could become something big.
Listen to Something New From RFA below, and be sure to check out RFA’s Bandcamp page for past releases and tour dates!