Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Some places are desirable and the reasons for that often are detrimental to its general liveliness or likeability. Take Florida, the home state of the band Fake Problems, for instance and you've got a mass of land that appears to be a firearm aimed at the ocean and the great baseball countries if that gun were using magical, swervy bullets that could pull U-turns and baffle convention. There's all that sand and sunny time wantonness that gives the margaritas and other fancy drinks something to soak into. It makes people crazy down there - all of the lack of inhibition. The state is also a place where the wrinkled go to die, living out their last days doing renditions of the alcohol-soaking up tendencies that the Miami Beach clubbers do - only doing it more in conjunction with bridge clubs and doing laps at the mall every morning, rain or shine, to keep those leg muscles recognizing that they're still leg muscles after all. Florida also finds itself to be a veritable wasteland for touring bands - an untamable piece of north and south roads that lead to no man's land routes, plunging vans into money sucks for a show or two and more hassle than it's usually worth. It's not Alaska or Hawaii, but the three states have more in common than one would think on first blink. You ask the Fake Problems fellows what other bands they're chummy with in the entire state, or who's doing good work down there and they stare up to the ceiling, fidget with their jeans and pockets and stumble to come up with a suitable answer. It's not a burn or a dig toward anyone being a rock and roll band in the Sunshine State, but more an indication of the hopelessness and barren blanks of the state that Fake Problems sweep into their songs, rather than just sweeping them under and letting the moldy mess fester and destroy any ambition to be part of the solution. The band, still just young, young men (none of who will fail to be carded for alcohol for the next 30 years as there's some kind of youthful creaminess to their faces that will never wear) but they've been playing and fiddling around together for years now, drafting up new sounds and visions and then balling them up when the new incarnation comes along and throws those balls of previous ideas and formulas into the wastepaper basket in the corner of the room. They've grown up around a scene that doesn't function all that aggressively or all that cooperatively for young indie rock bands and that's an easy reason to rally against stagnation and to want to break car windows and beer bottles in the dark alley behind an apartment complex late at night after a few strong glasses of something or other. Fake Problems, whether or not they pull these kinds of acts of minor vandalism or feel completely at odds with their surroundings, there are enough hints to make it seem like that idea isn't too off-base. Chris Farren throws out the vein on the side of his throat during the bitter strains of "Heart BPM" and there's a good indication that these struggles are the kinds that make people bang their heads against the wall and sink into a cold depression that doesn't just clear up like a nasty fog does. The memories of these kinds of turbulent frustrations, coupled with no ways out, form the life sentence for those sick of it all, all of it sickening. There's no right way for a heart to beat or want to beat, but Farren almost seems to suggest that there's a wrong way. And this happens at the surrender point, when the person becomes an echoing capsule and nothing more than that. Fake Problems, the traveling band, the gypsies, are following those siren calls that most people mute or get frightened of when they're presented too loudly. These guys - with a lightning-inflected sound of temptation tested and broad-chested Two Gallants rusticity - prevail and look back at their own peril.
Fake Problems Official Site
SideOne Dummy Records