Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Well I've Got Rhythm & I've Got Dreams

Fake Problems - How Far Our Bodies Go
Sabot Recordings, 2007

Potential. It's one of the last things a band on the verge of their big break wants to hear. Unfortunately, it's the word that's going to get tossed around in the direction of Florida's newest sons, Fake Problems. That's not to say that these boys (seriously, these kids are barely of age) aren't innovative in their own right. They obviously have a great understanding of the songwriting process, and some great lyrical styles, but at the age these boys are sitting on, they could be the Beatles and they'd still get that term thrown at them. So does it stick?

The short answer; yes. While Fake Problems has produced one of the most impressive and original sounding debuts punk has seen since Reinventing Axl Rose, it still has that air of over-zealousness that leads a band to ignore their tiny mistakes. Sometimes a flawed record is a good thing, though. A sense of youthful exuberance is all over this album though. Like some bastard child of pre-Communique American Steel and Tim Barry of Avail's solo work, How Far Our Bodies Go is a true punk-country hybrid, Fake Problems are able to bring in instruments like a mandolin and a violin and make them rock out loud. Tracks like "Staying & Leaving as Living & Dying" and "Busy Bees" are perfect examples of this. Lead singer Chris Farren has also taken on a more autobiographical style of writing, replacing heavy-handed political statements with quips and antecdotes about leaving college and childhood memories of his mother.

A lot of the new subject material has made this album a much more intense venture than the band's first two EP's. Every second of songs like "To Repel Ghosts," and "Maestro of This Rebellious Symphony," feels like the band is about to explode out of your headphones, tearing a hole through your head from one ear to the other (once more, youthful exuberance). However, it's not the exuberance that's keeping the band down. The more energetic songs come across great. It's the slower songs where the band starts to falter. The interludes and reprises are unnecessary, and take up space on the end of songs that would otherwise be easy to listen the whole way through. The last two tracks of the album are so lacking in that exuberance that they just sound comparatively lazy.

So is "potential" one of those words I'm going to have toss back in this band's face? Unfortunately, yes. While Fake Problems have finally released some material that's an actual reflection of their live show (read: good), they're still spending too much time on their idea of artistry. Fake Problems have written nearly two handfuls of incredible songs, but they are somewhat marred by the fact that the listener is forced to sit through lackluster interlude tracks and lazy ruminations. But like I said, there is a lot of potential here. Let's hope that by the time their next album drops, they'll have been able to cut away some of that fat. (3.7/5 Stars)
Key Tracks: "Born & Raised", "Maestro of This Rebellious Symphony", "To Repel Ghosts", "Life's a Drink, Get Thirsty!"
More Along These Lines: Against Me! - Reinventing Axl Rose, Tim Barry - Laurel Street Demo, Drag the River - Hobo's Demos
Download The Album In The Free Link I've Provided For Your Broke Ass:
Fake Problems - How Far Our Bodies Go

Weird that two of the "More Along These Lines" albums were demos, huh? I even almost chose Against Me!'s Vivada Vis demo tape as well, but decided that it was a little too folksy. I guess that's a good example of that youthful exuberance and inexperience I was talking about in the band. Today's review was pretty short. I'm debating whether or not I'm going to actually do another one before my 8 A.M. - 4 P.M. shift is done. But then i remember I'm probably going to be so wasted after my first 8 hour shift at RSR that I'll sleep through the second one. Why I've chosen to participate in what's known around my house as the "16 hours of pain," I've no clue. But here I am.

I started my first summer class today. It's "Coming of Age in Cinema," which, believe it or not, also has it's own blog, which I've handsomely linked over in the links section of this page. I'm excited about the class, it should be pretty fun, most of the movies we're screening are pretty awesome (the ones I've seen, at least, which is like 5 out of 16 of them). Sorry about the small image size on this post, this is sincerely the largest image I could find on the tubes. It's a shame, because it's good artwork too. Steak Mountain does some great work.

I'm not sure I enjoy this terrifying anime show on Adult Swim. Shin Chan, I believe it's called? It has to be one of the raunchiest shows I've ever seen, right up there with Bill Plympton's more X-rated material.

Alright kids, I'm going to try and sleep a little maybe, and I might post again during my next shift, and I might also finally finish this Sociology project I got an extension on last week. I might also decide to re-watch all of season 3 of Veronica Mars on AllUC. Or decide that I want to finally start watching Heroes. Either way, I'm in for something or other. Sorry I'm not so eloquent right now, but it's 4 in the morning and I've been up since 9. Later skaters.

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