Army of Me - Fake Ugly (Cover Artwork)

Army of Me

Fake Ugly (2004)

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Fans of Weezer, Ted Leo, and the Rentals take note: There's a new pop-rock-and-roll group that wants your attention named Army of Me, and their latest release, Fake Ugly, is going to appease your simple yet fun musical needs. While not nearly at electrifying as Ted Leo and his Pharmacists, and not as quirky as Weezer, Army of Me fall in the middle of the pack with an EP that isn't spectacular, but that is a quality listen.

As soon as the opener "Breathe" kicks in, you'll think about how many songs you know with that title, and how many damn times you've heard that damn chord progression. However, there's a certain charm that this band possesses, and although I can't totally put my finger on it, it could very well lie in vocalist Vince Scheuerman's solid voice and uncanny resemblance to the aforementioned to Ted Leo, a man who also possesses a certain charm that makes his music incredibly fun to listen to. Scheuerman has good range and some "oomph" behind his voice, which not only offset's the simplicity of his band's music, but complements it as well. Track four, "Be By," has some very effective, quick one-note guitar parts (please excuse my complete lack of guitar terminology) in the bridge over some heavy drumming, and track two, aside from the unnecessary keyboard fuzziness, sticks in your head with its upbeat nature and catchy chorus. "Too Many Walls" reminds me of Duvall a bit, but the album ends on a sour note with the lame acoustic closer (when will bands learn that this isn't the greatest of ideas?) "Rain Stained Melody," a song with none of the fun and excitement of the first five tracks.

This EP flies by, and it's pretty evident that this band can do some really, really great things in the future with a little bit of fine-tuning to their songwriting. Fake Ugly still feels a little wet around the ears, but it's still a fun listen for those who aren't expecting the most amazing music of all time. It's just simple, fun music. Fans of the aforementioned bands should keep their ears open for these guys. This was a pleasant surprise.