Review by Nicole Seitz
Joey Affatato, senior music industry student and vice president of Blue Hawk Records, has been a part of the Monmouth University music scene since the beginning of his freshman year in the Fall of 2013. Now he has some amazing music to share with us on his album. Affatato’s first band in college was The Ramparts Rebel, which included himself and his uncle’s band, Crypt Keeper Five.
This album is self-titled The Ramparts Rebel, and if you have ever had a chance to see Joey Affatato play live, you will really be blown away about how some of your favorite hits are re-created on this album. As a frequent goer of Affatato’s shows and a friend, I was honestly surprised and super pumped by the artistic magic that I heard in the songs that I often hear live at his shows.
Affatato explains how he composes his music, “When writing an album, I usually start off by writing songs stripped down on my acoustic then eventually, I’ll come up with a cool hook or catchy melody and I’ll go off that,” Affatato states. “Then, I’ll demo the songs out until they sound good enough to bring to the studio to record.” This album definitely sounds like it was carefully put together and well-practiced.
The opening track begins with a Green Day-esque bass riff that just brings you back to 2005 and makes you feel so angsty in the best way possible. This whole track is just angry and honest which is very refreshing compared to the many happy-go-lucky love songs that some people may be used to now a days.
The second track on the album, “Faults,” is a go to song for Affatato when he plays out. The perfect example of a hooky, fun, but still angsty song. Sometimes you can’t help but scream the chorus at the top of your lungs and pronounce it ” MY FAAA-AA-WALT!”
The next few tracks have a much more serious vibe. You can tell from the feel of the songs and the lyrics that these are real stories and real life lessons put together into 3 minute ballads. When I first listened to the lyrics of “By My Side,” the third track on the album, I began to tear up because I felt like I could feel every emotion that was put into the song and it was just so relatable.
By track five, “Emily,” we get back into the classic Punk Rock feel with gang vocals screaming “Hey Emily!” and the imperfect guitar tone with upbeat drums and overall punk vibes.
Track six is the only acoustic song on the album. “Brings Me Down” was actually a song that Joey Affatato had recorded with Blue Hawk Records as a part of their fourth compilation album. On Blue Hawk Records he recorded this song full band with The Crypt Keeper Five. However, on this album, the acoustic rendition allows Affatato to really showcase some of his amazing vocal skills. During one of the last choruses, he decides to sing acapella and the tone of his voice is really beautiful and adds a great dynamic to the whole song.
The intro to track seven, “Honey, What Was Your Name?” is very reminiscent of a Blink-182 song later in their career. The vocals and over all vibes of the song remind me a little bit of John O’Callaghan, the lead singer of The Maine, and something off their album Pioneer.
Track eight, “Breakdown,” is one of the most powerful songs on the album, in sound and lyrics. This is a track I had never heard before from going to Joey Affatato’s shows, so it was a shock to hear something that just made me feel so much emotion and tension, in a good way. The song is mostly this blurred-sounding guitar and very clear vocals. This style really allows the listener to hear every word and really hear the story.
The last track is titled “Irene,” cleverly named after the hurricane back in August of 2011. The intro bass riff sounds just like you’re in a movie where a big storm is about to come, like the eerie calm before the storm. “Irene” is another crowd favorite at Affatato’s shows and the recreation of it on the record certainly does not disappoint.
Over all the album is AMAZING! Although Joey Affatato is primarily labeled as a “Punk Rock” artists, this album still finds a way to give you all types of sounds and feelings. From really edgy and angsty, to deep and meaningful.
The lyrics really tell a story. Affatato states “I’ll write lyrics and keep changing them until they’re the exact words I want people to hear when they listen to my music.” The words really do speak to you when you listen to the album. Every line has meaning and every song is another lesson learned. The greatest part about music is that it is a way to express ourselves creatively and Joey Affatato certainly does that.
The Ramparts Rebel is not Affatato’s only project. His new band The Carousers, who are signed to Blue Hawk Records, have been in the studio and are looking forward to dropping their new EP for us soon.