Upon my first skimming of Fake Problems’ sophomore release “Real Ghosts Caught on Tape,” I quickly labeled it generic indie music from some band I didn’t care about. However, after giving this album the proper listen it deserves, my earlier assumptions have been dashed away.
I was blown away with its raw, indie feel, catchy guitars, and pounding drums that play throughout the album.
“Real Ghosts Caught on Tape” avoids any gimmicks; there are no sprinkles of unnecessary and annoying effects that are so common today. The album does not come off sounding amateur, either. The four-piece really shines here with its simple setup: two guitars and a bass attack backed up by drums.
The record gets off to a blaring start with its opener “ADT,” where military-esque drums introduce jaunty guitars that add to the catchiness of the “Tap tap your feet, to your heart beat” chorus. This first song sets a high standard for the rest of the album but luckily Fake Problems manages to meet these expectations and more.
The album as a whole is very solid, showing off its strongest tracks with “RSVP,” “Complaint Dept.” and “Soulless,” which is the band’s lead single. It is a very energetic and upbeat song that you cannot help but nod your head to, if not get up and all out dance. The song is infused with elements of 60’s pop rock and is polished off nicely with the addition of female backing vocals.
However the song I found repeating most on my iPod was “Songs For Teenagers.” The track’s bouncy guitars and slower pace gives it a bit of a darker feel and its opening line only reassures that feeling: “Looking for drugs in all the wrong places / wanted to be famous but ended up nameless.”
In no way does this take away from the album; in fact, it adds a nice bit of change.
There is something to be said about the lyrics as well. While it shows a wide array of emotions, it largely contrasts with much of the subject matter heard in most of today’s indie and emo bands. The lyrics have a very positive message of never giving up hope: “I was soulless, soulless/ Broken down/ Hollow as a ghost/ But you have brought me back to life/ And revived the hope,” sings Chris Farren on “Soulless.”
The only complaint I have comes in its closing track “Ghost to Coast.” While not a bad song, its mellow tone and slow pace seem a little out of place.
“Real Ghosts Caught on Tape” is an amazing record that should solidify Fake Problems as mainstream heavy hitters without having to slap on the “sell-out” that so many of today’s popular acts deserve. Fake Problems’ latest effort should be picked up immediately by any indie-rock fan and quickly put on repeat.
Ronan O’Brien can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.