Ultimate Fakebook - Open Up And Say Awesome (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Ultimate Fakebook

Open Up And Say Awesome (2002)


Ultimate Fakebook are a rock threesome out of Kansas who will most likely have you singing falsetto, playing air guitar until you sweat, and drumming hard on your steering wheel (or any near object) in no time. Editor Scott and I have had many a discussion about this band since he thinks they suck, but I will present my side of things here.

This album starts out with the up-tempo rocker "Wrestling Leap Year." The drums pound out a beat, riding on the floor tom, and the vocals have a cool spacey effect on them. With 90% of the songs off "This Will Be Laughing Week" having Bill McShane's great falsetto in them, I was on the lookout for it and sure enough he delivers midway through the song. Damn I love falsetto when it's done well like this.

A stand out track would be "Before You Leave," an up-tempo straight-ahead rock song, with a guitar solo by Stephen Egerton of Descendents and ALL fame in the middle of it (this was recorded at The Blasting Room, by the way). "Goddamn Dance Craze" is a toe-tapper, with a cool guitar riff in the intro. "Popscotch Party Rock," is a great song too. It has a sweet pitch bend keyboard thing in the intro, group vocals, and cock-rock style guitar solos through out, a great closer to the album.

There are a few weak tracks, like "Forever, Forever" which isn't helped by Get Up Kids' James making a guest appearance on keyboards- not his fault really since the keyboards are barely audible. Despite it being in my favorite meter (6/8), this track is a ballad, and even though the variety is nice these guys should just stick to the rockers or else make the ballads better. "Girl, Here's Another Lie" is another softer track and it has some more great falsetto singing in it, but it is only decent. "Red Elbows" is another ballad that could be skipped. Now I think of it, this album has too many of these mediocre tracks. At least none of them are as bad as "Million Hearts Dance" from "This Will Be Laughing Week."

"Combat Fatigue" is another song that is supposed to have keyboards by James in it, but I can barely pick them out. But then again, I always thought the keyboards were too soft on the Get Up Kids' "Something to write Home About" as well. Matt Pryor, also from the Get Up Kids, adds some nice backing vocals to this same track.

The guys in Ultimate Fakebook all grew up listening to 80's pop and hair metal, and the influences are evident in their style. Bill McShane has a voice unlike any I've heard before. It is nothing weird or annoying in any way, I just can't seem to think of any other singer who sounds like him. It fits the music very well, and his falsetto singing...did I mention his falsetto singing? It's sweet, I could have used more of it though. Nick Colby is a good bass player, but I feel he doesn't get enough of the spotlight especially on this album. A lot of the energy from this album comes from Eric Melin, who obviously drums incredibly hard.

These guys don't take themselves real seriously musically or lyrically, they are just having a good time rocking out, and I hear that they have a great live show with lights, smoke, and over-the-top rock moves. If you liked their first two albums, you will like "Open Up and Say Awesome." It is not quite as good as "This Will Be Laughing Week" because of the abundance of mediocre songs, but it is still a good listen. Dammit though, I wanted to be able to give this album a ten to piss off Scott. Oh well, maybe with their next album.

The Scheme To Listen No More
Inside Me, Inside You
When I'm With You, I'm OK

When I'm With You, I'm OK
Forever, Forever
Inside Me, Inside You