The Preserving Machine

Ultimate Fakebook

Sonic Ritual Records, 2020

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The late '90s and early 2000s were good to the Kansas trio Ultimate Fakebook, who enjoyed several well-received albums and some high profile tours during a time when peers like Saves The Day and At  The Drive-In were quickly becoming household names.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Preserving Machine, their first record of new material in 16 years, retains the power pop spirit they built their name on. Their sharp lyrical content and hook heavy guitar songs sound better than ever on this triumphant return.

After the 30 second opener of electronic and ambience of “Javea,” “We're Sharing The Same Dream Tonight” follows with a crunchy, punky number that jangles and bounces with an energy that certainly sounds early 200's and brings to mind some of the bands they've toured with, i.e. Nada Surf, The Get Up Kids, and Motion City Soundtrack.

Further along, “Sad Soldier” carries a more confessional tone where a punchy pop rock setting enters the vocal harmonies and strong piano playing, while “Manhattan KS” bursts with an anthemic quality of razor sharp melodica that sounds perfect for summertime fun. “Juliet's Fools” then enters ballad territory as a strong vocal delivery from Bill McShane in a stirring album highlight.

Deeper tracks bring us the pop punk friendly “This Unfrozen Girl,” which will strike a chord with anyone who went to the Vans Warped Tour, as well as the thicker presence of “My Music Industry.” “Fake ID” finishes out the listen cautious, emotive, and forthright, as McShane talks candidly about growing up.

A band who owe much to The Replacements and Cheap Trick, this older, wiser version of Ultimate Fakebook is nothing short of clever, sophisticated and still a lot of fun. If you're like me and you weren't paying close enough to Ultimate Fakebook in their prime, you'll certainly be paying much attention to this fine album.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2020 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sonic Ritual Records, and is used for informational purposes only.