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Light 'em Up

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Album Review

Listening to the Fags' first full-length album, Light 'Em Up, it's hard not to get the feeling that you've heard this before. While the band's name might lead you to expect some high-snot-factor pop-punk, from the first moments of Light 'Em Up it's obvious the Fags worship at the altar of Cheap Trick, with some Raspberries thrown in for hooks and harmonies, the Who for power chords, and Aerosmith for arena level attitude. And if you're going to worship four bands, well, those aren't bad ones to live your life for, and there's no arguing the Fags have learned well from their role models. "Truly, Truly," "Rockstar" and "Greatest Movie Ending" are radio-ready songs that strut big with guitar swagger, thundering drums and big singalong vocal choruses, and it's not difficult to imagine Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander themselves offering up something like this. On the other hand, there isn't a whole lot in the way of surprises here and that, of course, is what set Cheap Trick apart from their competition — there isn't anything here with the sly, off-kilter wit or subversive musical intelligence of "He's a Whore," "Surrender" and "Dream Police," and while it isn't the Fags' job to be Cheap Trick, since they beg the comparison so strongly, it's hard not to hold them up to that standard. The craft and the spirit of Light 'Em Up is consistently strong, and there are a few fine tunes here, but the Fags don't display much of a personality of their own, and though they've made a good rockin' pop record, it's not hard to imagine they could do a bit more if they tried.

Biography

Formed: 2000 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Playing energetic '70s-style power pop in the manner of Cheap Trick and the Raspberries but with the energy of a fresh-faced pop-punk band, the Fags are a Detroit-based trio comprised of three longtime veterans of the Motor City music scene. Guitarist and singer John Liccardello (aka Johnny Speck) was a member of Sponge and Hoarse, as was drummer Jimmy Paluzzi, while bassist Tim Patalan is an experienced producer and engineer who has worked with many of Michigan's leading indie acts. Formed in 2000,...
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Light 'em Up, The Fags
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