Spotlight \

Fake Problems

Who? With just a touch of banjo, Fake Problems sound like they were spawned in a sun-parched place, tumbleweeds as their only audience. In fact, these college-aged cowpokes come from Naples, a coastal vacation spot in southern Florida. Chris Farren (vocals/guitar), Derek Perry (bass/vocals), Casey Lee (guitar), and Sean Stevenson (drums) have known each other since the tender age of 14, and the camaraderie shows in some of their raucous choruses. Though Fake Problems began as a solo outlet for Farren’s compositions, it evolved into successful touring band. To wit, the boys recently wrapped a full U.S. trek and dropped the symbol-happy EP Spurs & Spokes / Bull > Matador. Their first full-length album is due out in Spring 2007 on the Sabot Productions label.

What’s the Deal? Straddling the line between alt-country and unpolished pop rock, the quartet comes across as the lo-fi love brats of Ryan Adams and Rilo Kiley — from up-tempo indie anthems to forlorn campfire ballads, the EP is little bit More Adventurous, a little bit Pneumonia. Sung with sly humor. Farren’s vocals keep the country elements from turning into camp. He trades traditional twangs for a rowdy rock sneer (which occasionally curdles around the edges into a whine). Evoking the country-folk-punk of fellow Floridians Against Me! on the bouncy, “Heat on the Feet,” Stevenson’s drumming propels the song into ebullient guitar crunches delivered at a dizzying pace.

Fun Fact: “Our guitarist, Casey Lee, was a childhood actor in Hollywood. He was in the pilot for the Fox sitcom Oliver Beane,” Perry revealed to SPIN.com, proving once again that all actors secretly long to be musicians. BRIANA MOWREY

Now Hear This: Fake Problems – “Heat on the Feet” DOWNLOAD MP3

Talk: Do the Fake Problems have real talent? COMMENT

On the Web: Fake Problems at myspace.com

Tags: Spotlight