Alternative Champs

Welcome to Fort Awesome

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Live shows by the Alternative Champs are wildly goofy affairs, with costumes, standup routines, and audience-participation skits in between the actual songs, like some sort of cross between Barenaked Ladies, They Might Be Giants, and a sketch comedy troupe. Their debut album, Welcome to Fort Awesome, matches the silliness of the North Carolina-based band's lyrics with genuinely catchy pop songs in a variety of styles ranging from earnest indie pop to sarcastic imitations of bar band boogie ("Mississikki"), '70s disco grooves ("The Gay '90s"), and Darkness-style tongue-in-cheek arena rock, complete with falsetto vocals (the anthemic closer "Rockingham"). Those who don't like unashamed silliness with their rock & roll won't care for the Alternative Champs at all, but the band manages to find a good balance, rarely letting the wackiness of the subjects get in the way of some decent indie power pop tunes.

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