Fake Problems
It's Great to Be Alive


2.5
average

Review

by kane USER (11 Reviews)
March 1st, 2009 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Experimental folk punk for the masses.

Upon first picking up Fake Problem’s most recent LP and sophomore release ‘It’s Great To Be Alive’ it struck me just how incredibly gay the whole thing was. The cover is a splash of bright colours emerging from black, or so-called absence of colour, which on closer inspection reveals itself to be a multitude of flowers within what appears to be another flower. And then there’s that title - ‘It’s Great To Be Alive’. The whole thing is both incredibly cheesy, pretty cool looking and at the same time kind of hopeful - light triumphing over dark and more importantly how it’s good to be alive and kicking. Take this concept and sprinkle a hell of a lot of fun into a folky indie dance pop punk record coming in at just under the 40 minute mark and you should know already whether you’re going to want this or not.

Fake Problems originally formed as guitarist and vocalist Chris Farren’s solo project back in 2001 as a release for his own musical ideas using a variety of instruments recorded on the computer. However, he was soon joined by the remaining three members of the group all of which he had known since childhood to become a full band. They claim to be influenced by several genres - (evident in their mix match approach to their own music; blending punk rock with folk, pop and even country), in particular citing Cursive, Blink-182, Bright Eyes and Hank Williams among others. Having already gathered some steam after the release of ‘How Far Our Bodies Go’, the young band have been well and truly scooped up by the internet hype train, some critics already touting them as 2009’s Gaslight Anthem. Whether or not they will receive the same acclaim at the end of this year as the latter managed at the end of the last remains, for the considerable future, to be seen.

The songs themselves are all delivered a bit tongue-in-cheek as they smoothly transit styles accompanied by a horn section and Farren’s hoarse delivery akin to a certain Tom Gabel of Against Me! fame. The rhythm section pulls everything together nicely as it never pushes for technicality or to be overly complex, instead speeds along with the rest of the album, having you up on your feet one moment, head bobbing along, dancing the next, head thrown back shouting along with Farren’s sing-a-long lyrics; whether they be about becoming the American dream or threatening an alligator. All very good and all but if you’re out of your teens you may find it all a bit hard to resonate with. I read one review which suggests listening to this album was akin to being the older brother listening to your little sisters record. And that’s where the problem lies, because despite the equal parts punk and psychedelia and the constant acid trip the record initially takes you on it begins to fall a bit flat after one or two listens.

Why? I guess the main problem is lack of maturity. No matter how exciting it is initially to hear some yodelling throw in punky folk rocker “The Heaven & Hell Cotillion” and Lee’s chaotic guitar playing throwing out massive hooks such as those in “The Dream Team” you can’t help but feel the band have used up all their ideas in the first half of the record, with the second half racing to catch up but being let down by it’s inability to let the first part go. You’ll often find as well that despite the danceability of the record you sometimes can’t help but feel you’re listening to a poor mans ‘Reinventing Axl Rose’, so similar is Faren’s delivery and the bands main sound in general. So is this worth the hype? Probably not. Is it worth picking up? I guess so, I mean it’s pretty fun it just lacks that extra zing to push it from a fun record to a great record.



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user ratings (52)
Chart.
3.5
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Comments:Add a Comment 
gaslightanthem
February 27th 2009


5209 Comments


So I submitted this at 4 in the morning on another account whilst drunk. It was bad. So I took another crack at it.

marksellsuswallets
February 27th 2009


4848 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Was going to review this but it kept turning out as boring as the album itself is.

gaslightanthem
February 27th 2009


5209 Comments


It's funny I enjoyed it a lot first time, just repeated plays kinda killed it.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2009


8357 Comments


HAHA and you already managed to call the whole thing gay in the veryfirst sentence. But it's a very good review otherwise. The album seems too cheesy for me to listen to so I'll probably skip this. And oh yeah "Alive and Kicking" is a hell of a song by Nonpoint .

gaslightanthem
February 27th 2009


5209 Comments


NEG NEG NEG

& I meant gay (coming from gaiety) as in happy but happy sounded all too homo itself.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2009


8357 Comments


hey what the fuck man. damn that fool who negged you. Dude I pos'd you. I thought the review was good. And I liked the gay sentence, it's just fun to see how much things you can call gay a day

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2009


8357 Comments


IT would be nice if this site would have information about who negs and who poses, so we could all avoid these kind of misunderstandings.

gaslightanthem
February 27th 2009


5209 Comments


Ya, that's cool man I know you weren't the dirty negger. I think I'll review some Nadja next, seems to be a few review-less albums of yet which is a bit weird as they're pretty much awesome.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2009


8357 Comments


Yeah you go do that. I really like your reviews. you got a very nice flow. Yeah i'm going to review the new Malefice at the start of the next week.

gaslightanthem
February 27th 2009


5209 Comments


Aww shucks. Haha, ya thanks dude I'm gonna start reviewing a bit more as well so hopefully I can only improve.
& yeah cool man, you should do that. I remember listening to the bands debut. It was nothing amazing and didn't really do anything different to other bands but still managed to stand out a bit, just generally pretty enjoyable. How's the new album out of interest?

Kiran
Emeritus
February 27th 2009


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I have a huge soft spot for anything that shares the slightest similary with Reinventing Axl Rose-era Against Me!.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2009


17213 Comments


as i said yesterday, Dream Team and Heart BPM are so fun it hurts.

Digging: Inigo Kennedy - Vaudeville

gaslightanthem
February 27th 2009


5209 Comments


I do love Dream Team.

Zippermouth
February 28th 2009


1305 Comments


Experimental folk punk for the masses.

Too bad no one listens to expierimental folk punk.

Fugue
February 28th 2009


7353 Comments


it struck me just how incredibly gay the whole thing was.


surely not as gay as the Golden Skans video.

Suffice to say I won't be looking into this. Great review by the way.

spoon_of_grimbo
February 28th 2009


2241 Comments


i wasn't a huge fan of "how far our bodies go," although it wasn't BAD. however, i'm surprised at this rating, since outside of sputnik i've heard nothing but good things about this album, and i've enjoyed the few tracks off it they've got on their myspace. i'll probably get this though.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2009


20857 Comments


Interesting Kane... very interesting. I'm one of the masses (aren't we all?), so I may just give this a look-see. Having said that, I trust your & Brent's opinion & since you both gave it a 2.5, I guess it can't be too great. It sounds like there are 1-3 fun songs on here though.
Very good review... I initially couldn't make out the sound in my head with all the genres you threw out there, but you clarified it well as you went along.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2009


8357 Comments


Quote:

& yeah cool man, you should do that. I remember listening to the bands debut. It was nothing amazing and didn't really do anything different to other bands but still managed to stand out a bit, just generally pretty enjoyable. How's the new album out of interest?

It's times better than the debut was. For me it is 3.5 or 4. Really good thrash/death metalThis Message Edited On 03.02.09

gaslightanthem
March 2nd 2009


5209 Comments


Ya davey there are a few really really fun songs on this it just falls a bit flat overall.

It's times better than the debut was. For me it is 3.5 or 4. Really good thrash/death metal

Cool, will probably check it out eventually.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2009


8357 Comments


yeah, i made a Crossbreed review today, so i'll wait a day or few until I am going to review that stuff. But yeah it is worth checking out.



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