As the ringleader of Fake Problems, Chris Farren strikes more than a few similarities to Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, particularly in the way both songwriters mix emo with traces of alt-country. Real Ghosts Caught on Tape seriously downplays the twang of Farren’s other albums, though, replacing it with a new emphasis on buoyant pop and the sort of energetic, heartland punk-rock championed by the Gaslight Anthem. This is still the Farren show, but kudos also go to producer Ted Hutt, the same man who recorded Gaslight Anthem's two breakthrough albums. Hutt knows how to couch his clients’ punk tendencies in other genres, from Gaslight's Springsteen-styled anthems to Flogging Molly’s Celtic workouts, and he does the same to Real Ghosts. With its cowpunk guitars, ‘60s pop harmonies, and indie rock chord progressions, this is essentially a tour through all of Fake Problems’ influences, and a fairly tuneful tour at that.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey