No-one can accuse Lowell, MI’s The Fake Boys of playing to the choir, and ‘I Love My Life When You’re Around’ is one of those obstinate albums you’ll either get on first listen or spend a lifetime working out.
Playing a form of twisted pop that is thick with sludge and flyaway power chords, ‘I Love My Life…’ also contains some devilishly contagious hooks, offsetting the gruff, grungey vocals and hard rockin’ edge. If it sounds confusing, just check out the frazzled ‘Wormy’, a wonderfully warped indie-rock gem that includes wild howls and a tripped out guitar solo, yet still remains incredibly infectious despite its testing nature.
And it’s this oblique attitude that steals the show time and again on ‘I Love My Life…’. Like fellow personality driven acts The Hold Steady, Titus Andronicus and Japandroids, The Fake Boys exist in a genre entirely of their own making. Not quite indie, punk, pop or rock, ‘I Love My Life…’ still manages to place a limb in all these arenas and sound like no-one else out there – especially on the stripped back ‘Sick Mostly’.
There are a few moments when it doesn’t quite work. The vocals, while powerful, sound like a real throwback to the early 90s grunge/metal heyday – think somewhere between Billy Corgan and James Hetfield and you’re on the money – and can be initially off-putting. Another lighter track in the vein of ‘Sick Mostly’ or the entertaining ‘OK, I’m Up’ would have also been most welcome too, if only to add some more texture to an album filled with sludgy, stodgy jams.
Yet for all this, what The Fake Boys have delivered is an album that refuses to conform to styles, trends and conventions – and is ultimately better for it.
I Love My Life When You’re Around’ by The Fake Boys is released on 13th January on Animal Style Records.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)