The return of Ultimate Fakebook
For those of you not in the know, here’s a quick history. They formed in ’94 in a little town in Kansas named Manhattan, made 3 great records and faded away.
The first record, Electric Kissing Parties, was a bargain bin find of mine and quickly became a favorite, given its bombastic Cheap Trick aspirations, deceptively clever lyrics and obsession with “Star Wars” – all three best exemplified in the song “Far Far Away,” where head songwriter Bill McShane laments the possibility that “Star Wars Episode I” might just suck.
Their major label follow-up This Will Be Laughing Week was supposed to make them a household name, but no dice, despite the raw rocking power of such hair-metal worshipping tunes like “Soaked in Cinnamon” and the gradeschool confessional of “Brokyn Needle” – which housed the lyric that would become their ethos “Are you ready to rock? It’s not a question, baby”
Their third album, after being summarily dropped from Epic, was on Initial Records and was titled Open Up And Say Awesome which included the “new” UFB sound, a more AM radio-style version of their crunchy pop-rock. Their single “Inside Me, Inside You” did some brisk business at first, appearing in music video form on Canada’s FUSE.
Initial Records helped UFB put out a third recording, this time an EP titled Before We Spark where the boys tried some new approaches, including adding a trance intro to the first track, “Rotting On The Vine”
Seven years passed. The guys all followed solo projects – Dead Girls Ruin Everything (soon to be shortened just to Dead Girls) and Carrier. Then, according to drummer Eric Mellin in their new album’s liner notes, things got interesting.
Our party officially ended in 2003, but five years later, we got together to play a friend’s birthday show and a benefit. That was fun. Then our pals in Motion City Soundtrack asked us on a special three-night run in Chicago and that was fun too. One more show over this past New Year, and we were starting to get a groove on!
Soon enough, Bill was looking into old unreleased UFB recordings. The 10 year anniversary of the release of This Will Be Laughing Week was coming up, so the band decided to release the collected output as a new album Daydream Radio Is Smiling Static and to put it out for free on the Internet. The collection is a great spread of all the albums’ styles and includes some quirky tunes, including a cover of Guided by Voices’ “Echoes Myron” where they turn the lo-fi pop anthem into shiny pop-rock.