Sinful Papers aka Stephen Royka has been playing guitar for the last couple of years but apparently he just became “serious” about it in June of this year. He already found time to release a six-song EP entitled Dreaming of Boston EP that builds a decent foundation for him but also contains a number of issues he will probably want to try and iron out with his future releases.
The entire recording was done with one mic and he recorded, mixed and mastered it himself. The production isn’t awful but there were some basic things that need to be addressed. It’s obvious Royka used programmed drums here as the snare sounds exactly the same with each hit. While we are talking about the snare it’s too loud in the mix and unfortunately actually masks his acoustic guitar. The guitars were a bit undefined and lacked mid-frequencies while his vocals sounded pretty solid throughout.
Musically Royka makes acoustic pop songs that revolve around a couple of basic chord structures. Some of it works but some of it still needs refinement. Let’s start with what works. Royka strengths lie in being able to execute a pop/punk style that I could see resonating with a demographic that was into Blink 182 back in the day and a contemporary band like A Day To Remember. His music lacks the distortion but some of his material has a similar feel. On top of that Royka sounds unapologetically young and it works within the pop/punk genre.
The songs on the EP aren’t t earth shattering by any stretch of the imagination but there are a couple tracks in which Royka has some moderate success. “In Tune” displays some of Royka’s guitar skills and contains melodies that become better upon each spin. It in some ways reminded me of Kurt Vile which was a good thing. The other track that was a decent effort was the opener “Dreaming of Boston.” It’s an upbeat song and was one of the better-written songs on the EP.
Royka starting taking his music seriously a couple of months ago and with this EP he does show potential but also has a number of things he can improve upon. The first thing I would do is find a way to get a more realistic sounding drum sound.
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