Monday, February 18, 2013

Fake Problems / You Blew It! - Florida Doesn't Suck

Fake Problems / You Blew It! - Florida Doesn't Suck
Topshelf Records
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Florida Doesn't Suck.  From a larger point of view, it would be hard to argue against this statement.  This is a state that is littered with so many theme parks that tens of thousands of people visit it for that sole reason.  Even North America's pickiest demographic, the retired elderly, find Florida a suitable place to wrinkle their way through the home stretch.  But, if we are looking at the state from a musical point of view, which is what we do here at Sanctuary Review, its track record doesn't hold the same positive weight.  While in recent years, Florida has been one of the many headquarters for punk rock and the new wave of emo, the state is also responsible for such acts as The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and A Day To Remember, the latter of which eventually spawned this song.  Making a strong case for the title of their new split 7" is Fake Problems and You Blew It!.

Fake Problems kick off their half of Florida Doesn't Suck with "Small Devil Song."  Chris Farren's nasally but smooth vocals take complete control of the track, leaving his vocal melodies in "Small Devil Song" as the most memorable and catchy aspect of the split.  Farren's instantly recognizable voice delivers a chorus of "Don't look me in the eyes unless you're ready to fight / I am powerful, so much more than you," that will have you singing along by the time it pops up again in the track.  "Gone Before Dawn" offers a more low-key glimpse at Fake Problems' sound, playing more with softer melodies and musicianship, over the infectious style that embodies "Small Devil Song."  Fake Problems prove that you don't need extremely gruff vocals of overbearing power chords to pull off memorable punk rock tracks.  Provided Florida Doesn't Suck is on your radar, there is no reason that "Small Devil Song" and "Gone Before Dawn" don't make their way into heavy rotation once summer rolls around.

Coming off the best release in their genre last year, You Blew It! had some huge expectation to meet with their first release since Grow Up, Dude.  Unsurprisingly, the band showed even more promise with the two new tracks, confirming that the immense progression from their EPs to Grow Up, Dude was not a fluke.  "Batavia, NY" showcases the band working with the style of their softer tracks, baring similarities to tracks like "I Am, I'm Trying."  On the other end, "I'm A Kid, That's My Job" builds on the more energetic and aggressive side of You Blew It!'s music, although the song is more reserved than some of the faster outings on Grow Up, Dude.  Although the two new tracks showcase the continued progression of You Blew It!, both songs leave much to be desired in the production.  While Grow Up, Dude didn't sport the cleanest production, the roughness was more endearing than distracting.  This time around, the new tracks sound more demo-like, most notably comparable to the early version of "Terry v. Tori."  The production on You Blew It!'s side of the split is nothing more than a minor fault on an otherwise strong batch of tracks.

There's no denying that You Blew It! and Fake Problems have no problem making a strong case for Florida.  Showcasing two very popular styles in the state's music scene, both bands do their genres proud with their latest offerings.  There is obvious progression in Fake Problems and You Blew It!'s music, with the former band showing off the best music they have written yet.  Whether you agree or disagree with the band's thoughts on its titular state, you can't deny that either of these bands have set the standard for their respective genres this year.


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