Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Fake Problems - It's Great to be Alive (SideOneDummy 2009)

Fake Problems' new album really sells you with the title, which they deconstruct over the course of twelve songs, sometimes ridiculously optimistic, and at others mocking themselves or just striving to triumph over adversity. Recruiting a horn section, the band give the songs a liver feeling, something bouncier and more joyous. The guitars still squelch and induce ticks and huzzahs, but it's in a rejuvenated bass and new horn section where the songs find a backbone bopping its way through the spine of the song. Chris Farren's lead vocal is heartfelt and soulful and playfully enunciates the intentions of the band as they course through the songs with good humour. There's still a punk rock core at the centre of proceedings, like on the bouncing flouncy 'Diamond Rings.' 'You're a Serpent, You're a She-Snake' operates on a sinister shuffle andwail, and the mourning 'Tabernacle Song' is orchestral and lush. There is never a dull moment and it keeps its heart pretty versatile throughout. Lyrically, they appreciate life and examine ambition and identity, and despite an underlying tinge of sinisterisms, the majority of the album operates on an optimistic course, trailblazing itself through the Nebraska landscapes that spawned it, all with a bit heart full of joy and ultimately optimism for the future.


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