Terry McClain, the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist behind The Realside, is back with another project based around an unorthodox creative process. In 2014, McClain recorded and released one album each month, jumping from genre to genre with each project. On this new record, Routine Prose Magnet, he took to Facebook for fans and friends to submit subjects, tempos and keys for songs on the project. What resulted was a 14-track album recorded in February which features a wide variety of lyrical concepts.
McClain varies his genre choices on some tracks here, but the prominent genre on the record is hard and alternative rock. These songs are the backbone of the record, and provide the most enjoyable efforts. “Invisible,” “Live Wire” and “Eye for an Eye” are straightforward rockers serving as high points, with submitted subjects of “disappearance,” “punch” and “revenge,” respectively. “Young” is one of the catchier, more accessible tracks on RPM, though it borrows heavily from the melody of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World.”
The interesting moments come when McClain goes for a different sound than your typical rock song. “Onward” sees him take the concept of “traveling” in a subdued indie rock direction that works extremely well. “Zero Gravity” tackles a more spacious, atmospheric sound, while “Louisiana Sky” goes for a country ballad. While these stand out, they derail the album’s momentum. Case in point, see the song “Stones River Romp.” It’s a low-key, cheesy ballad based solely around Murfreesboro lyrical references. As cute as it is to hear references to Mayday Brewery, The Fish House, Liquid Smoke, the Greenway, and all the “hipsters on a bike” at Boro Fondo, it’s just kind of cringeworthy. It comes right after “Hungry Robot,” one of the heaviest songs, so it just feels all the more out of place. If Routine Prose Magnet was sequenced differently, or even if the outlying genre tracks were split into a separate EP, it would be a more enjoyable listen. Rock fans can possibly find a few songs to pull out of the project, but the scatterbrained lyrical topics and sequencing just don’t make it an enjoyable front-to-back listen.
Check the release out for yourself at delvinshadepublishing.com.