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Fake Problems - Real Ghosts Caught On Tape Album Cover

Fake Problems - Real Ghosts Caught On Tape

Reviewed by
8.5
Fake Problems - Real Ghosts Caught On Tape
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Record Label: SideOneDummy Records
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Rock and roll isn't really a genre that has a true identity right now. I mean true rock and roll. It's really the only genre I'm picky about defining. I'd say that The Gaslight Anthem probably headlines that genre, and after them, the list is pretty short. I recently saw Gaslight play a show in Gainesville and providing direct support for them was Naples, Fla. quartet Fake Problems. Now most people have known about Fake Problems for a while (the group released its first EP way back in 2001) but aside from a few listens to their latest record, Real Ghosts Caught on Tape, I had never heard the band.

Although I only arrived in time to catch their last two songs, I heard all I needed to from Fake Problems. I proceeded to buy the new record on vinyl and my first full, in-depth listen into it was a surreal one. Not only does Fake Problems belong on my short list of notable modern rock and roll bands, but they manage to make their way onto said list with a flair and swagger that not many groups can match.
Chris Farren's unmistakable vocals provide a soulful, sometimes folky attitude to Real Ghosts. The vocals are extremely clear and beautifully complement a variety of instruments that provide enjoyable quirks to the band's base sound. Farren and Casey Lee provide most of the guitar work in clean, rhythmic doodles and Sean Stevenson is rock solid behind the drums.

The ensemble is firing on all cylinders on opener "ADT", one of the catchier songs on the album. The chorus of "Just tap, tap your feet / To your heartbeat" feels youthful and is easy to sing along to. The song comes to an emotional climax when Farren sings, "If confidence is key / I must be locked out of the house / If home is where the heart is / I do not have a pulse." The catchiness of the opener is not lost in "5678", which features an enjoyable fuzzy effect on Farren's vocals and rhythmic hand clapping that suits the chorus nicely.

"Songs for Teenagers" and "RSVP" make the first four songs of Real Ghosts Caught On Tape a killer sequence. The former showcases some of those eclectic background instruments while the latter is a short, upbeat track that may be the best on the record. In fact, "RSVP" has one of the best choruses I've heard this year and it's a song like this lying in the middle of the record that makes Real Ghosts such a quality release.

While the first side of the record proves to be a bit more enjoyable than the second, there are no real missteps here. "Complaint Dept." has a winding, feel-good guitar part that, without trying to sound too cheesy, brightens up the listener's mood. "Grand Finale" certainly has the feel of a closing song, with a powerful guitar line and a phenomenally executed escalating bridge, but "Ghost to Coast" manages to steal the show. Farren's lyrics end the album as well as they started it in this slow-tempo track, as he maintains, "What do you do now that I am gone? / I spend most nights alone / Singing songs in my room / And all of them are for you."

After listening to the entirety of Real Ghosts Caught On Tape, it's easy to understand the praise that Fake Problems has been given. Frank Turner calls them the best band in America. Their fans, as far as I can tell from their live set, are rabid and loyal. With their accessible style of soul-influenced rock and roll, Fake Problems should only expect to find greater things in store for themselves if they keep churning out albums as good as Real Ghosts.

Recommended If You LikeThings that are hybrids...like punk roots mixing in with danceable rhythms or a DIY mentality infused with almost disco-like catchiness or rock and roll blended with a can of whoop-ass.
Follow Me On TwitterFake Problems follows me, and you want to be like them, don't you?
Bare Essentials1. ADT
2. 5678
3. Songs For Teenagers
4. RSVP
5. Soulless
6. Complaint Dept.
7. Done With Fun
8. The Magazines
9. White Lies
10. Grand Finale
11. Ghost to Coast
Run Time: 37 minutes, 48 seconds
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 41
02:01 AM on 10/26/10
#2
vivatoto56
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Fantastic album. Nice review too. Too bad you only got to see them play two songs.

Ghost To Coast is one of my favorite songs of the year.

And I sing along to Songs for Teenagers almost every time I drive.
02:10 AM on 10/26/10
#3
aradiantsunrise
i get what i want
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Great album and review. Saw majority of their set at Warped Tour and they sounded great.
02:19 AM on 10/26/10
#4
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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Great album and review. Saw majority of their set at Warped Tour and they sounded great.
I caught some of their set at Warped but didn't know any of their stuff. Your avatar...it's a great album haha. Brand New/Man Orch status...up in that stratosphere.
02:21 AM on 10/26/10
#5
Chris Fallon
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Thanks so much for taking this Thomas. I wish things in my life had not been so chaotic for me to have to give this review up, but you did a hell of a job with it. Couldn't have done much better myself. I agree with every bit and piece you wrote - these guys are on the verge of really causing an explosion of jubilant punk rockers and pop lovers finally meeting across the globe, holding hands and singing these songs in unison.
02:26 AM on 10/26/10
#6
aradiantsunrise
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I caught some of their set at Warped but didn't know any of their stuff. Your avatar...it's a great album haha. Brand New/Man Orch status...up in that stratosphere.
Neither did I but I enjoyed it, haha. So jealous dude. I wanna hear it so badly. Glad to hear it's living up to it's hype, though.
02:32 AM on 10/26/10
#7
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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Thanks so much for taking this Thomas. I wish things in my life had not been so chaotic for me to have to give this review up, but you did a hell of a job with it. Couldn't have done much better myself. I agree with every bit and piece you wrote - these guys are on the verge of really causing an explosion of jubilant punk rockers and pop lovers finally meeting across the globe, holding hands and singing these songs in unison.
Hahaha this made me laugh out loud. And no problem, I was glad to review it. Thanks for the nice words.
02:51 AM on 10/26/10
#8
Whalejaw
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Definitely one of the best albums this year.
02:54 AM on 10/26/10
#9
Argentine
When I die, rap dies; Destiny Bond.
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I still need to pick this up but I love this band to death. My new favorite discovery. Great review.
03:02 AM on 10/26/10
apresnuledeluge
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This album is too fucking good. Exactly what I was hoping for from these guys.
04:03 AM on 10/26/10
RyanFTW
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Album is great, a must pick up for rock and roll fans.
05:30 AM on 10/26/10
GautamT
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Great abum. I preferred the diversity on "It's Great To Be Alive", That was an insane album, this makes for a somber follow-up but its very likable
06:58 AM on 10/26/10
prefix-core
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Ridiculously great record and an extremely solid review! "Songs For Teenagers" is one of my favorite cuts from 2010, and this album is in my Top 10 of the year at the moment.

These guys have big things in their futures, for sure!
07:02 AM on 10/26/10
prefix-core
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Thanks so much for taking this Thomas. I wish things inI agree with every bit and piece you wrote - these guys are on the verge of really causing an explosion of jubilant punk rockers and pop lovers finally meeting across the globe, holding hands and singing these songs in unison.

Don't forget the indie kids! These guys have followed a similar career trajectory as their Floridian brothers in Against Me!

1.) Start with a folky, punk rock vibe laden with acoustic guitars for debut release? Check.
2.) Take the speed up a notch with the next release (or in Fake Problems' case, several E.P.'s) but drop subtle hints that there's danceable beats and fun times to come? Check.
3.) Sign to a notable indie label and release an album full of interesting orchestration and song structures that most die-hard fans don't see coming, throw in some extra bombast? Check.

And this is where they deviate -- Fake Problems upped the ante on this one. Instead of going straight rock n' roll? They went for broke. And that's definitely not a slag on Against Me! either. Just an interesting parallel. Or something.
07:51 AM on 10/26/10
CluckyB
Modern Baseball is WAR
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Thanks so much for taking this Thomas. I wish things in my life had not been so chaotic for me to have to give this review up, but you did a hell of a job with it. Couldn't have done much better myself. I agree with every bit and piece you wrote - these guys are on the verge of really causing an explosion of jubilant punk rockers and pop lovers finally meeting across the globe, holding hands and singing these songs in unison.
Nice of you to give other people a chance to review SideOne bands from time to time =)

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