This is my attempt to put a huge grin into words
It seems those in the know are already anticipating the arrival of Real Ghosts Caught On Tape, and I’m happy to tell you that it’s been worth the wait. If, like me, you’ve been itching to get your mitts on the album since the release of ‘Soulless’ a few weeks ago then you won’t be disappointed.
I know I talk about Fake Problems a lot, and maybe some people out there will see this as me, yet again, bigging up one of my favorite bands. There’s no doubt that’s exactly what I’m doing, but you won’t find any false praise here. Real Ghosts Caught On Tape is one of the best albums of 2010. Fact.
Right from the off, it punches you in the face with a plethora of sounds, all of them building up and easing the listener into a fantastic audio experience. The album perfectly encompasses what Fake Problems are all about – great music, great lyrics and a great time. It shows off the serious side of the band, but is still filled with music to dance to. Each track also bares the trademark introspective nature that I’ve always appreciated about the music these guys make. It’s been a hard album to review, but I think I might’ve cracked it.
Fake Problems brand of indie-punk has always been different; quirky might be the best way to put it. Musically their records are ever changing and you can’t accuse them of repeating themselves or re-hashing songs. There’s a definite retro feel to this record that sets Real Ghosts… apart from their previous work and the work of their peers. It’s a highly influenced record, but no track seems derivative of anything that’s gone before. Overall, the album has a very 1960’s sound, but I noticed nods to The Cure amongst other bands in there too. I like the fact that it’s thematically similar to their previous albums – there’s still mentions of religion and the occult – but there’s a lot that sets it apart from How Far Our Bodies Go or It’s Great To Be Alive.
Fake Problems’ music definitely relies on personal experience a lot, but it’s on this record that it really shines through. ‘Songs For Teenagers’ is a perfect example. The subject matter is personal, it’s definitely more serious, but it’s also one that many will be able to relate to. Throughout the album there’s minor pieces of percussion that really make it the sonic tour de force that it is. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ted Hutt had some part to play in these subtle inclusions. He seems to have brought the best out of the songs, and Fake Problems as a band. Ted is definitely one of the best producers out there, and he seems to understand where each band he works with is coming from. He takes what’s good and improves on it. He’s made a band with a big sound, into a band with a huge sound. Tracks like: ‘ADT’, ‘Done With Fun’ and, of course, ‘Soulless’ show this off perfectly. Those slower songs aren’t neglected either, something that will please a lot of fans.
There’s always been a unique-rawness to Fake Problems’ music. This is definitely still there, but is less prevalent. Chris’ vocals are quite a bit softer in comparison to previous efforts. Whether this was a conscious decision or not, I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s a non-issue. It’s different, but the effect is still as powerful. I want to allay fears that something is lost or the album is over-produced. Believe me, that’s not the case.
It’s safe to say this will be the band’s most mainstream effort to date, but that’s not a problem. There’ll be a few out there who slap on the ‘sell out’ sticker – as there is with every band when they put out something new – but Real Ghosts… just shows that, as a band, Fake Problems are evolving and their music is too. It’s a natural progression and one that will be welcomed with open arms by the majority of their fan base. So, if you’re a Fake Problems fan then you’re not going to be disappointed. If you’re looking for something new and interesting to listen to, then look no further. This Floridian four-piece’s quirky, brand of indie-punk could be for you.
Real Ghosts Caught On Tape is released September 21st.