Reggie and the Full Effect have always been a mystery. Who are they? What do they want? Where do they come from? There have, of course, been explanations. Studio fires, faked deaths, cryptic bios and tall tales of many sorts were countered by rumors that James Dewees—keyboardist for rock heroes The Get Up Kids' and drummer for seminal metalcore act Coalesce—was somehow behind all the crazy characters taking credit for Reggie and the Full Effect’s synth-rock goodness. First there was the enigmatic Reggie, the band's apparent namesake and protagonist in a strange musical tale beginning with the release of the band’s Greatest Hits 1984-1987 in 1998, followed closely by Promotional Copy in 2000. Then there was the mustachioed frontman Paco, who came to the fore on 2003's Under the Tray, and album which also featured an ever-growing cast of characters—Finnish metal band Common Denominator, English synth-pop god Fluxuation, death growler Hungary Bear, the ubiquitous Drunk Guy at the Get Up Kids Show—increasing both the band's popularity and perplexing mystique.
However, on Reggie and the Full Effect's new record, Songs Not To Get Married To, James Dewees is ready to come clean about his role as songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and mad scientist behind Reggie and the Full Effect. "Paco's dead now," proclaims Dewees, AKA Reggie, AKA Paco, AKA Klause from Common Denominator, AKA Fluxuation. "This record's more about me getting divorced; about working really hard for a really long time, then having everything taken away from you for no reason whatsoever other than somebody has the power to do it," he says. "Big man crushes small man syndrome." Granted, the history of the band's comical antics, song titles such as "The *** Stops Here," and the record's seemingly too-literal-to-be-true title might lead one to believe that Dewees merely jests about his inspiration for Songs Not To Get Married To. But Dewees insists that he is all too sincere about the theme for his latest masterpiece. The album opens with "What the Hell is Contempt?" a song, he says, inspired by his divorce court proceedings. "They called me up and said that were going to sue me for contempt," remembers Dewees. "And I was like 'what the hell is contempt?'" I don't even know what it is and I'm going to get sued for it."
But don't get out your handkerchief just yet. Songs Not to Get Married To, isn't all seriousness. Songs like the grinding metal number "The Trooth,"—which Dewees says is "about me having to go get a tooth pulled in the middle of recording. I tried to save it but they threw the tooth away. It was ***ing gross."— and the dance-y "Dethnotronic" featuring Common Denominator and Hungary Bear, as well as snippets like "Guess Who's Back" and "Laura's Australian Dance Party" are all classic Reggie: switching genres at the drop of a hat, mixing irreverence and humor with razor-sharp guitars and sugar-coated melodies. And like Under the Tray, Songs Not To Get Married To was recorded at producer Ed Rose's Black Lodge Studios in Kansas, and includes guest spots by what Dewees refers to as his "all star friends," including Ryan and Robert Pope of The Get Up Kids, Benjamin Perri of From Autumn to Ashes, and Sean Ingram and Cory White from Coalesce. "I can always call in my all-star friends to help me out when I need them," says Dewees with a laugh. "With everybody being from the same small scene, we're all friends. Even as the scene is getting bigger, our friendships are all still like they were before. We all go out and get drunk together and bum cigarettes and money from each other all the time."
Though there is still the requisite silliness and genre-melding that fans of Reggie and the Full Effect have come to expect, Song Not To Get Married To is nevertheless a cathartic, one might even say serious record, at least by Reggie standards. "Everybody who's heard it so far has noticed that it was more serious," agrees James Dewees. "There's actually lyrics and songs not just about girls running away." But there are also plenty of fake accents, techno dance beats and Slayer-esque metal riffs to allay any concerns that Reggie has gone totally straight. "It’s still Reggie," says Dewees. "There's still the humor there, it's just taking things a little more serious, doing it a little bit more subtly."
Songs Not To Get Married To is a look at the man behind the curtain, the record that finally proves once and for all that James Dewees is Reggie and the Full Effect, and that Reggie and the Full Effect is, in fact, James Dewees.
Reggie & The Full Effect is...
James Dwees - Guitar/Vocals/Bass/Drums/Keyboard
What The Hell Is Contempt?!?
- This song is a great opener to this album. It opens up with a great drum roll then goes into heavy guitar and really cool keyboard. This is one of the better songs on the album. As we all know, this album is about James Dewees divorce. The title is a little play on the subject matter. Anyway, this song is really like nothing I've ever heard from them. It's a strong intro that leads into the single. 9/10
Get Well Soon
- This track starts off with really great keyboard and the keyboard maintains that same rhythm throughout. That adds to the catchiness of the song. The lyrics are total crap but who cares when this song would be a good instrumental in the first place. The bridge is pretty cool also, "You always talk to much too little too late for me to figure out"! Anyway, this is probably my favorite song on the album. Check out the video also. 10/10
What The Hell Is Stipulation?!?
- The song opens up with really cool guitar. It is muted halfway through the riff. The verses have this metal feel. This is one of the heavier songs on the album, as there is screaming in the chorus. This is a good song but sounds like filler. Not 'Jet Pilot' filler but still a little slapped together. 8/10
- This song has a nice intro similar to the previous tracks'. This is one of the slower songs on this album. The lyrics are pretty cool. It's about hoe when many problems come about, lives seem to be caving in. This is probably the closest thing this band will ever have to a ballad. It's still a great song. A highlight of the album. 9/10
- OMG, this song starts off with total and utter insanity. The guitar is louder than ever but is only overpowered by the screaming. This is almost like a Nu-Metal song. It sounds a little like Atreyu. We all know that that's not a good thing either. But this is a fine example of Dewees jumping genre. It's a big change too. 9/10
Guess Who's Back
- This is a pretty funny skit. It's 30 seconds max or so. It's about some crack-smoking mom that gets "Mom Of The Year".
Take Me Home Please
- This has really good keyboard, but the song sound like some 80's pop song. Nevermind, this is the closest song to a ballad that Dewees made. It's not my favorite, but the lyrics are still really good. It's not my favorite, but the keyboard is still really good and so are the lyrics. 7/10
Thanks For The Misery
- This is one of the much slower songs on the album. It has really slow drums and a nice synthesizer in the backround. This song is really relaxing. I could actually fall asleep to this as it is really melodic. This is by far, the most tiring song I've ever heard. But in a good way. 9/10
The *** Stops Here
- This song is very different and sounds like a NIN song. It has distorted guitar and soft screaming in the backround. I know, whouda thought, soft screaming. If it makes sense, this song is really just an instrumental till' the bridge. Then all of the singing comes in. By the way, the title is absolutely hilarious. This is another song that sounds like filler but I'll ignore that. 8/10
- I think this song is a joke. The singer is definitley not Dewees. The singer sounds like a total douchebag because he has like a spanish/british accent. The song is filled with obscenities. Sadly I'll have to rate it like a song and the score won't be high. But the keyboard is a little cool. 5/10
Laura's Austrailian Dance Party
- This is a dance music instrumental. It;s just a minute of keyboard and cool drums. It's not really a song so I won't rate it.
- This song is really weird. The lyrics, are "Dis' beat ids deathnothronik" over and over again.. The guitar is really good in this song. It's a perfect rock/dance hybrid. It's actually, in the end, a good instrumental. 8/0
- This is again, one of the slower songs. It is good for what it is, but Dewees is not exactly a good singer. It's a good attempt though. This is a pretty good closer to this album. Atleast it's not a dance track. 8/10
This is a very good album, IMO, it's way better than 'Under The Tray'. I really liked this cd. But it's sad becasue if you think about it, half the album was dance remixes and humor tracks. One of the dance songs was good. The rest were *blehh*. Anyway, this is a good album for dance music lovers, rock lovers, or just anyone who wants to try something new.
+ Good genre variation
+ Great couple songs
+ Addition of keyboard to metal/hardcore music.
- Too many joke and dance songs
- How will Dewees play this live?
* If you liked my review, please say it was helpful by clicking the YES button thats nex to the, was this review helpful
, question. :) thanks.