RFA's Freaking Out: Good old college rock 'n roll
RFA | Photo by Hannah Pautler

RFA’s (Really Fast Automobiles) efforts to revitalize rock ‘n roll can be felt through their January 2015 release of Freaking Out. After coming in as runner-up at World Cafe Live’s ninth annual Beta Hi-Fi Emerging Music Festival, the Philly-based rock quartet received 10 hours of recording time at Studio Crash and a Discmaker package for distribution.

On the resulting recordings, the college-age musicians sound has matured, shifting towards a more bluesier rock feel and vocals with the likes of Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. The three-track EP opens with “Freaking Out,” featuring a whistling intro and a powerful bass drum kick. “The headache you’re having screams of the evening before,” croons vocalist-guitarist Dan Cousart; his lyrics appear to have matured from their earlier releases with eloquent parallelism. This track has some deep, blues-y guitar riffs from Christian Turzo that stand out underneath Cousart’s soulful vocals.

“Teenage Love Song” is a faster, upbeat track that lets drummer Alec Powell go all out. The bassline in this song also keeps Brendan McHale grooving; je joins the band on this release after their former bassist left for college in Boston.

Cousart experiments a bit more on track two with some reverb backed by some garage rock-feel guitar melodies. Freaking Out closes with chorus-heavy “Too Much,” where McHale backs up on vocals for a sleek sound that is new for the garage-rock guys. The song is most experimental on the EP, with a shift in delivery and some hints of guitar distortion.

With songs about girls and getting drunk, it’s pretty clear that RFA has all intentions of staying true to their sound of youthful rock ‘n roll; on Freaking Out, it just sounds more professional than ever.

RFA will be playing at the Petting Zoo on Jan. 31 with surf punk Grand Mariner, Philly indie-emo Water Polo, and Philly burbs’ Eunoia. More information on the show can be found here.

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