Review: Ultimate Fakebook

Ultimate Fakebook
“Before We Spark”
(Initial Records)

According to the liner notes, UFB had been listening to post-“Pet Sounds” Beach Boys before they headed into the studio to record this ep. But nary a sliver of sunny orchestral pop similar to that of Brian Wilson is found here. While they “thought some drum machines, synthesizers, and 32 tracks of Bill’s (McShane) vocals on top of each other sounded fun,” it actually sounds self-indulgent and amateurish. Most importantly it takes away from the Lawrence, Kansas, boys raison d’etre: catchy pop punk hell bent on taking seventies rock riffs and power pop to radio-friendly levels not a bit unlike Weezer. Producer Ed Rose (Get Up Kids) manned the boards for this ep and is partly responsible for the biggest offender, an electro pop remix of, “Inside Me, Inside You,” from their last full length “Open Up and Say Awesome.”

The EP’s rollicking opener “Rotting on the Vines” with perky riffs and infectious hooks commands your attention, but then it’s followed by a throwaway 20-second instrumental called “Cobra.” While “We’ll Go Dancin'” and “Catch the Beat,” are sugar rocking sweet gems, “Slick’s Theme” is a brackish taste. Often bands use eps to take different directions. Hopefully on their next full length, Ultimate Fakebook will realize their strengths and ignore their impulses for experimental rubbish.