Spurs & Spokes/Bull > Matador

Fake Problems

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Spurs & Spokes/Bull > Matador Review

by Corey Apar

Like the rapscallion result of an illicit affair between early Against Me! and Whiskeytown, Fake Problems hoot and holler their way through the eight songs of the Spurs & Spokes | Bull > Matador EP. Anchoring summer 2006's Spurs & Spokes EP to four re-recorded tracks from their earlier Watching the Bull Get the Matador album, this is a great introduction to the Florida quartet, who effortlessly meld alt country and indie rock with the urgency of punk and a stripped down vibe. A slow mosey quickly turns into a swift kick in the pants on the opening "Motion of Ocean," a vigorous country-folk romp that matches delightfully with the hungry delivery of frontman Chris Farren. Like some sort of wide-eyed combination of Tom Gabel and Langhorne Slim -- both of whom similarly also began solo, only to be eventually rounded out by a band -- his vivaciousness is truly infectious; subsequent numbers like the rollicking "Degree'd or Denounced" and the fierce yet pensive "Cannonball" benefit just as much from Farren's thoughtful words as his assertive delivery. Fake Problems seem so genuinely enthusiastic about their music -- every song sounds like it was a blast to record -- it's really hard to get through this EP without cracking a smile, even with the slight lull around the twangy love exploration of "Oh, Your Silver Heart." Scrappy and charming, these songs bode so well for their future that the upcoming full-length can't come soon enough.

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