Upon Second Listen

In the punk rock/indie scene, there are bands that seem like perennial openers, destined to play to cross-armed audience members lingering in the back of a club, waiting for the other acts to come on stage. For a few years, Flordia-based Fake Problems felt like that to me. In the mid-late 2000s, I saw them open for a slew of larger punk/indie acts, including Against Me!, Gaslight Anthem, and others.  Each time I saw them, I never gave them much attention and wasn’t impressed by their folksy sound. I was simply burned out by the folk-punk/indie-folk sound at that point. I also thought the singer sounded like a high-pitched muppet.

Recently, due to a Youtube playlist, I came across some of Fake Problems’ newer songs from their 2010 release Real Ghosts Caught on Tape, released by one of my favorite labels-SideOneDummy Records. Since the last time I saw them, Fake Problems’ sound has expanded and matured. Gone are the high-pitched vocals and complete folksy vibe. The use of electric guitar riffs and big hooks/choruses benefit the band well.  I plan to order the album on wax, just for the tracks “Song for Teenagers” and “ADT” alone. It’s now clear to me this band has grown from an opener to a group that should start headlining and continuing to expand and explore its sound.