Ultimate Fakebook – The Preserving Machine

Rating: ★★★☆☆

When looking back on my early days of music discovery, the years when you found “the good stuff”, the late 90s and early 00s were likely the most important time for me. This was a time when I began to transition from the middle school days of mostly radio rock n roll towards a more indie, underground scene. Coming out of Kansas at the time were bands like The Get Up Kids, Appleseed Cast, The Anniversary, and of course, Ultimate Fakebook. Though maybe not as widely known as those other bands, the group was equally as important to me and to that scene. So it of course brings me great pleasure to review Ultimate Fakebook’s first album in over 10 years, The Preserving Machine. Hit the jump for my thoughts on this long awaited album.

Background

Ultimate Fakebook is a Manhattan, KS based group who grew to fame in the late 90s-early 00s alongside some of the fellow great Kansas indie bands of the day. The band retired in 03, and have remained mostly quiet outside of the occasional reunion show and a self-released album in 2010. This is their first effort featured in a widely released format in over 17 years.

Quick Hits

  • Man the nostalgia hits pretty quickly with this album. Sounds like some of the glorious days of late 90s post-punk/pop punk styles.
  • 3rd track, and lead single “After Hours” is just about a perfect composition of pop punk goodness.
  • I really love closing track “Fake ID”. It might even be my favorite on the entire album. Progresses beautifully.
  • Also enjoy the driving sound of “Hey Gemini” as it sort of provides a break from the series of poppier numbers.
  • My only real knock on the album is a lack of diversity in the songs. Sort of tend to bleed together a bit as you listen several times.

Now Show Me

Who Is This For?

Fans of the previously mentioned late 90s-00s sounds of pop rock or post-emo. Also for anyone looking to get a bit of a throwback sound. Basically, if you were into this stuff back in the day, you will love this record for its updated take on the genre.

Song/Single Links

  • “After Hours at Merlin’s” – The right choice for a lead single on this album as it is the catchiest and poppiest song on the LP.
  • “Manhattan, KS” – Not one of my favorite songs on the album as it gets a bit too pop punk for me. Still a solid track if you’re more into that side of Ultimate Fakebook.
  • “Fake ID” – Not technically promoted as a single but I had to link to it because I love the song. Truly an epic way to end an album.

Summary

This is a fantastic album for anyone who used to rock with this band back in the good ol days of poppier rock n roll bands. I docked the record a couple of points simply because I do not see it vibing with just anyone. You have to be looking for something somewhat specific in a bit of a niche genre. If you used to like The Get Up Kids, The Anniversary, or maybe even earlier version of Blink 182, then this is a perfect album for you.

Currently vinyl copies of The Preserving Machine are sold out, but you can still pick up a CD or buy the digital version over on the Sonic Ritual bandcamp page.

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