Released on February 17th, 2009, "It's Great to Be Alive" has already solidified it's spot as one of the top indie rock Cd's of the year. This organically beautiful album is the sophomore release of Naples, FL based Fake Problems. The follow up to the critically acclaimed "How Far Our Bodies Go", ITGTBA is a representation of the band's maturation. With a new found, subtle edge, Chris Farren now tackles issues such as frilly materialism in women, spirituality struggles, abusive relationships, and the human race's condition of inflated ego - "pretend your something more than you, but your not."
Fake Problem's music has improved exponentially. Bells and whistles are heard throughout the album ( I saw to god I heard a glockenspiel on Diamond Rings) and Heart BPM includes quite possibly the most moving guitar solo of the year. Sean Stevenson's drum performance on the album is remarkable, moving smoothly from staccato snare taps to filling tom beats. Farren's voice is much more diverse and satisfying, high lights include Don't Worry Baby and the emotional Heart BPM. The ever present cow bell is still around in IGTBA, however while it was starkly annoying and distracting in Fake Problem's previous album, they have somehow discovered a way to make Will Ferrell's instrument of choice into a legit musical piece.
Overall, "It's Great to Be Alive" is simply a pleasure to listen to. The guys from Fake Problems should be applauded for straddling that fine line between releasing a rehash of their previous success and completely abandoning their established fan base. This album is a cherished piece of my musical collection. Fake Problems is currently on tour with the venerated Riverboat Gamblers who are promoting their newest release, "Underneath the Owl."
Review Score: 9 out of 10