Various reviews (Music writing)
14/9/10 — It would be unfair to describe Fake Problems’ Real Ghosts Caught on Tape as their latest effort; achievement would be a far more accurate term. In this, a step up from their strong second full-length and by far one of the finest alternative records to find its way across the Atlantic in recent years, the Florida quartet effortlessly transcend any definable genre restrictions, delivering a set of songs that sound as reassuringly familiar as they do bold, honest and unmistakably original. If the songwriting isn’t personal, it’s a remarkably realistic imitation; in the perhaps ironically self-involved ‘Done With Fun’ Chris Farren explains “I have some problems, and a hundred excuses why I never solve them”, a frustrated sentiment that will surely ring true with more than a handful of the band’s dedicated fans. From lines about boredom, drugs, and parties to the obligatory relationship songs, they possess a certain lyrical charm, with the rare ability to portray sadness and childlike hope, without drumming the ears with shameless self-pity as is so often the case with the discussion of such topics. As a record, it makes for great listening and given the chance it could be an easy favourite for many sitting awkwardly between tired indie outfits and run-of-the-mill-punk rock. Fake Problems seem to be something of a secret among much of the music scene, which is, considering the number of potential radio anthems here, a little strange. Maybe it’s partly because those who happen upon the near-genius of much of the band’s material and unique style are selfishly eager to keep it that way, or perhaps it’s the fact that with so many songs presented with the attention-to-detail that has helped to make this band an internationally recognised act, it’s often difficult to pick out any standout tracks. No filler here, just good honest Fake Problems.
12/06/10 — There is some truth in what Motion City Soundtrack say. Plenty, in fact. It’s ridiculously easy to relate to the offbeat musings of Justin Pierre, especially considering it’s even easier to write him and his band off as a bunch of sensitive science-class geeks making songs that most bands could only dream of writing. The vocal production on this record was deliberately left a lot more raw than on the band’s first three full-length albums, and this adds to the slightly quirky take on honesty that makes Motion City Soundtrack so appealing to anyone who likes their music ballsy without taking it too far and having beatdowns, or whatever the kids are calling them these days.
This song doesn’t exactly sum up the record — so you’d better give the whole thing a spin — but it’s my favourite and the first one to trigger a blog post.
13/05/10 — The Hold Steady are one of those bands whose CDs turn up on my shelf and I have little or no idea how they got there, but I still end up spending a few weeks falling in love with them. Separation Sunday came on my radar in this way a few years ago, and from Craig Finn’s knowingly-cool opening line to the album; “She says always remember never to trust me” to the now-familiar blend of ideas that works because it only just works, it’s a record that has stood, and will continue to stand, the test of being lost in a pile of other CDs in many a messy bedroom.
Hornets! Hornets! is the song that finds its way onto my hi-fi when I don’t have time to listen to the whole album.