Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's Great To Be Alive - Fake Problems (Review)

Earlier this summer, I wrote a review of their latest album, Real Ghosts Caught On Tape. I refered to their creativity and how expiremental they are. Out of all their albums, this contains the most of that. Every song sounds nothing like the last one. That is what I want. That is exactly why Real Ghosts Caught On Tape was a tad dissapointing. If I were to put a label on this album, I think I would call it expiremental folk-punk. It just has so many different elements in it, it is hard to call it anything but fantastic. It is easily my favorite Fake Problems album to date.

The first song is a nice little song called "1234". It is short, sweet, and overall a very nice listen. For a minute long song, it manages to get quite epic at many times. To show everyone that they are not just an average folk-punk band anymore, they decided to add a whole brass section to the first track. Very cool. This song leads straight into the next flawlessly.

"Dream Team" was released as a single and had a video made for it. Good choice making this a single out of any of the rest of these songs. It is the most radio-friendly and catchy song on the album. It is the easiest to digest. To put it in more simple terms, It is the least weird on the album. It is still good, but not as unique as the rest of the album. The video consists of them playing at a house party, and the fun the band is having really reflects on the song.

After that comes "You're a Serpent, You're a She-Snake". This song really contains the expiremental aspect I was talking about. The fuzzy bass is charmingly overwealming, and the synth is the base of the song. It sounds like Pop music, New Wave, and Punk all had one amazing baby. The guitars are distorted to all hell, to the point where you can barely hear what they are playing (which is awesome in my honest opinion). The last segment of the song is EXTREMELY epic, it is ashame that part is so short though. Still, another refreshing song.

"Don't Worry Baby" is contains more folk elements, while maintaining the expiremental feel. It is a very dark song. This song also has the brass section in it, except it feels MUCH different from "1234". It is used in a much darker way. Although the electric guitars are still present, you can also hear the acoustic, which adds to its folky-ness. In the bridge it almost seems like a chant consisting of  "La La La"s and a lot of gang vocals. Towards the end, there is a little 30 second segment that really isn't part of the actual song. It is a total mood change from sinister to happy. It is very cool though.

"The Heaven & Hell Cotillion" is probably the song I have the most plays on on this record. It is a very fun folk song. It is under two minutes long, but in that time, it will surely make you smile. From the entrance of the banjo, to the yodeling breakdown, this is a really happy song about religious confusion. Chris Farren's witty lyrics add to the upbeat feel to this song.

The next song is "Level With The Devil". This song has a lot of cool tempo changes and mood changes. It is good, but doesn't really stand out. Their is some cool mandolin riffs involved and some weird little melodies, but it just feels a tad to long. In my opinion, the song could end half way through and be much better. It begins to drag towards the end. My advice to the band would have been to somehow split it into two parts, so you could still includ the second half. Either way, this isn't an awful song, it is actually pretty neat.

After that is "Diamond Rings". This is another really dark song. The inclusion of the flute was genius in my opinion. I also really dig the falsetto back up vocals in the chorus. The video for this song captures the mood of the song brilliantly. The third verse and third chorus are where my love for this song truely stands. It just feels so full when you get to that point.

"Tabernacle Song" is a slow song. The base of the song is an acoustic guitar. It is another song with the flute. It also has some piano which really sounds nice. Farren's lyrics really stand out on this song. And the short breakdown feels ten times more emotional than the rest of the song. All around a good poppy folk song.

That song leads straight into "Alligator Assassinator". I can't exactly get behind the meaning of this song. The music is cool though. It sounds like rockabilly music kind of. Or maybe just straight-up rock and roll. The song doesn't stand out though. It almost feels like filler.

"There are Times" is a lead guitar driven song. It is really good. It kind of loses the folk genre and kind of replaces it with Indie music. This song sounds like an indie song. The lead guitar is really catchy. I remember reading somewhere that this is lead singer, Chris Farren's, favorite song he has ever written. I wouldn't blame him. This song get really epic at times. The brass section is back and that adds to the song a lot.

"Cold On The Soul" is the slowest and softest song on the album. It is a really nice track. It shows that Chris Farren doesn't just write witty humerous songs, but also serious poetry. There is no percussion in the song at all. It is all based around an acoustic guitar, a banjo, and a quiet synth in the back. It is about lonliness and has a certain vibe that you really don't hear much anymore.

The closure of the album is "Heart BPM". This is one of Fake Problems best song. It reaches triumphant heights. The lyrics are outstanding. It has a very nostalgic atmosphere. It is one of those songs that make you think about everything from past to future. The inclusion of so many instruments I will not bother to even list adds to this. The song ends with the same drum beat that started the album, which I found really cool. Everything about this song is perfection in my honest opinion. You can't put my love for this song into words, so I will not try!

It seems that this album is just one big party. There is so much gang vocals everywhere, and there are different people playing all different kinds of instruments. I really think this album deserves to be known more than it is. Chris Farren's ability to go from comical to emotional is fantastic, and his ability to blend the two is even more impressive. Unlike Real Ghost Caught On Tape, which relied on lead guitar, this album relies on EVERYTHING. By everything, I mean it literally. It is really nice to hear them blend so many different genres together. You may have noticed I have used the word "epic" over a dozen times. But in my opinion, there is no other adjective that describes this album. That is personally what I like in music.

Highlights : The Heaven & Hell Cotillion, Cold On The Soul, Heart BPM

Music : 9 (Every song sounds unique and fresh)
Lyrics : 7 (Witty and humerous, yet serious)
Artwork : 6 (Front cover is the only artwork in it)

Overall : 8.5

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