Song of the day: The Genuine Fakes – "Time Is Slight"

November 13, 2011

Swedish power-poppers The Genuine Fakes contacted me the other day and asked if I wouldn’t mind mentioning their new mini-album. I had a listen to it, enjoyed it, and thought “A-OK, baby.”

I must admit that this is a very lazy post for me because I didn’t have to grab any MP3s, or even write any nonsense about the music – the text and music had already been prepared. All I have to do is present you with what the band showed me. Easy. (Thanks, guys!)

The Mini-Album

The Blurb

NEW DIGITAL EP OUT 11/11/11 [NOW]

The Genuine Fakes is the new hope of powerpop in Sweden. The critically acclaimed debut The Striped Album was released earlier this year, and now the time has come for a follow-up EP; Liner Notes.

HIGHLY PRAISED DEBUT

The debut album from the Swedish powerpop outfit enjoyed raving reviews all over. It was a fierce debut with high energy pop songs and memorable hooks. It made many Top 10 lists in the blogosphere in a year that saw new releases from bands such as The Posies and Teenage Fanclub. Even pop veteran Ken Stringfellow himself was impressed by the album: “The Genuine Fakes are proof of Sweden’s seemingly inexhaustible font of pop genius. Hitting all the right marks, they walk you thru the major required classes in the school of pop – chime, harmony, sparkle, and melody 101… surely these guys are on their way to being tenured professors in pop’s university.”

OLD AND NEW

Only six months after The Striped Album was released the band went back into the studio to start work on the next one. Productive as they are, they also had a batch of songs left over from the debut album sessions that for different reasons didn’t make it onto the album. “We strove for a certain vibe on the album,” lead singer Joey Fake says. “We had these tunes that just felt like they were a bit too different to be included, but we also felt that they were far too good not to put out.”

Liner Notes is what became of those tracks. Most of the songs have already been put out on different versions of The Striped Album – some on a bonus CD in the US and some as bonus tracks on the Japanese edition and one on a Posies tribute album. But there’s also a brand new track called “Blind Commitment” that was finished just last week during the recording of the second album. All the previously released songs have been re-mixed and re-mastered and will now enjoy a worldwide digital release. The band hired Anders Hellgren of Merrymakers fame to do the mastering and the result is an organic sounding EP, showcasing another more dynamic and sometimes even tender side of the band.

ORIGINALS AND COVERS

Except for the six original compositions, the EP also contains two homages to two of the band’s main influences. “Metal Sky” was originally written and recorded by Andreas Mattsson of Popsicle fame, and what was initially a ballad-like, acoustic number is in The Genuine Fakes’ rendition a powerpop/punk explosion. “Somehow Everything” is a revamped Posies song which was first released on Beautiful Escape: The Songs of The Posies Revisited a few years ago. Liner Notes sums up the band’s first years and marks the end of the beginning. The next full length album is expected to be released in 2012.

The EP can be bought starting tomorrow through http://music.thegenuinefakes.com and will soon be [is probably now] available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc.

A Mini-Review of the Mini-Album

After listening to Liner Notes a couple of times, and then having another listen to their previous album, I reckon this new EP isn’t as heavy as their previous album, and has a bit more country-rock in it.

The Previous Album


Song of the day: The Genuine Fakes – "If You Then I"

October 24, 2010

I was contacted by a Swedish band called The Genuine Fakes (Hi, Genuines!) who pointed me in the direction of their website so I could have a listen to their highly regarded album, The Striped Album (2010). I’m guessing it’s highly regarded because of the blurb that was in the email they sent me:

POWERPOP ALBUM OF THE YEAR?

The album, which has no official title but is simply called “The Striped Album”, is now finally being released after the painstaking process of recording and fine-tuning every song in the studio since 2007. The two previous singles from the album; “I Don’t Want It” and “When Reality Hits You”, have gained recognition and spawned anticipation on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The Genuine Fakes might even beat The Posies and Teenage Fanclub (who are also releasing new albums in 2010) in their own game and make the most enjoyable pop album of the year.”
(One Chord to Another, powerpop blog)

Both singles have been on rotation on US radio channels, such as Sirius Satellite Radio.

“If there is one new band that you need to check out this year, The Genuine Fakes may just be that band. This is one awesome band that is making some very impressive music.”
(Popbang Radio, US)

R N’ B SONG RE-IMAGINED

The third single chosen from the album is the band’s rendition of Beyoncé‘s R n’ B ballad “Irreplaceable“. However, this version is anything but a ballad – the song has been totally reworked and made into a real powerpop anthem, winning over even the most sceptical gig attendees. “We thought that the song was pretty good, but that we could make it a lot better”, says singer Joey. “It was a fun challenge to make it into something completely different and, ultimately, into our own.” The song is now being offered as a free download through thegenuinefakes.com along with the two other singles.

If you like your power pop loud, then you may like The Striped Album. However, every song seemed loud to me. The first time I listened to it, I had it a fairly respectable volume (i.e., loudish) but it sounded too loud and my ears tired fairly quickly. On the second listen I turned it down for a more comfortable listening experience but it still sounded too loud. On the third listen, as an experiment, I turned it down to the bare minimum on my media player, but it felt too loud even at that level. On the fourth listen I had it back up to a that-makes-more-sense level, but I kept thinking “Boy, these songs are loud.”

As I may have hinted at earlier, the whole album has one dynamic level: LOUD. One factor exacerbating the situation is that I didn’t find much light and shade between – or even within – the songs. And it didn’t help that the drummer played with as much enthusiasm as is humanly possible in a recording studio. Ordinarily I’d applaud that, but while the album was playing I couldn’t help but notice that in pretty much all of the non-verse parts of each song, the drummer played eighth-notes on either a hi-hat that was fully open, or a crash cymbal. I don’t know about you, but I can’t take listening to a crash cymbal being mercilessly bashed throughout entire sections of songs. For me, the end result was listening to an album full of songs where there was the constant presence of cymbals. Loud cymbals. And to my ears, those ubiquitous cymbals amounted to white noise. (Maybe that’s why the album sounded so loud to me.)

Despite what I think of the album, and how I tend to feel a little drained whenever I listen to it, you on the other hand may dig all that energy (it’s a very energetic album). Feel free to have a listen to the songs in this post and make up your own mind.

Boring sidenote consisting of pointless criticism about the album cover:

I must say that I think the band missed a golden opportunity to be hip and ironic and all those other things that a lot of modern bands try to be nowadays. The Striped Album has a cover that consists, sensibly enough, entirely of stripes. Now, if the band wanted to be hip and ironic etc, I thought they could have had the album cover consist of nothing but circles, or trapezoids, or perhaps a photo of this white tiger. Ah, well.

But back to the album…

Although I found The Striped Album too loud for a comfortable listening experience, and with the songs not offering a lot of variety (these were the two main factors preventing me from enjoying it more than I wanted to), at least the band opens the album with their own theme song. Any band that has a theme song gets a big plus from me:

The Genuine Fakes – “The Genuine Fakes” (2010)

Link

Now here’s one of the album’s regular songs:

The Genuine Fakes – “If You Then I” (2010)

Link

This is probably my favourite song on the album:

The Genuine Fakes – “When Reality Hits You” (2010)

Link

And here’s a track where the harmony vocals are a bit more pronounced:

The Genuine Fakes – “Mindset” (2010)

Link

Hopefully, you had a listen to those songs despite my moaning about loud dynamics and album covers. And hopefully, you enjoyed them much more than I did. (I did enjoy them, though. Sort of.)

By the way, you can hear a couple more tracks from the album on its website.

The Genuine Fakes official website
The Genuine Fakes on Facebook
The Genuine Fakes on MySpace
The Genuine Fakes on YouTube