Where do I begin with Reggie and the Full Effect? The solo project of James Dewees, Reggie and the Full Effect are an Irreverent and goofy group that defy genre conventions. The band is generally referred to as post-hardcore but that only scratches the surface of their sound. Incorporating elements of Hip-Hop, Metal, Euro-pop, and a slew of other influences, Reggie and the Full Effect are a wildly unpredictable listening experience. However, humor and lightheartedness are core elements of any Reggie release. Welcome to another Freegal album review. Freegal is a free music streaming service that you can access with your Caldwell Public Library card. You can read more about Freegal here.
Released in 2013 after a successful Kickstarter, No Country for Old Musicians is Reggie and the Full Effect’s sixth studio album. A mix of synth driven post-hardcore, joke interludes, and “guest” appearances from some of the band’s alter egos such as Common Denominator, it's a chaotic record that follows the band’s typical format. The opening track gives a pretty good indication of what Reggie is all about as the listener is blasted by a thirty second faux-country jam that hollers the album title repeatedly. Short audio clips and song snippets are a staple on most Reggie releases for better or worse.
One of my favorite tracks here is "37". The song’s basic narrative revolves around the speaker being visited by monsters on his birthday. The monsters don’t want to eat him but have come to recruit him for their monster band.
"They say they've come from a faraway land
And that they're here to start a band
And what a nice coincidence
That I can play lots of instruments"
The upbeat chorus and snappy drums really make this track pop and I always get the melody stuck in my head. The snare sounds fantastic in this track! Seriously, check it out. The music video is also excellent and has a lot of fun with the monster theme.
"Revenge Is a Dish Best Served at Park Chan-Wook's House", is a real banger of a track with hilarious tongue in cheek lyrics. Once again, the production of the record shines with thick guitar tracks and layers of vocals. If you don’t listen to the lyrics closely you might mistake this for a serious post-hardcore revenge song.
"And I had a lot of time to think
To try to figure out
How many rocks it would take to make your body sink"
The theme here is all about outrageous Korean revenge cinema but it's delivered with so much energy it feels personal. Tracks like this are often my favorite on Reggie records because they just flat-out rock.
A final highlight from the album is "Who Needs Another Drank? Feat: Floppy Disk-0". If you haven’t caught on yet, Reggie and the Full Effect don’t take their song titles too seriously. This is mostly a hip-hop infused track with an epic singalong chorus to close it out. Once again, the lyrics are hilarious, and James’ rapping is just as good as his singing. The nasally whine behind his delivery is reminiscent of the Beastie Boys and his flow is tight. This song makes me long for more Reggie tracks in this style.
No Country for Old Musicians is loaded with joke songs and sound clips which can come across as filler. Certainly, after listening to the album a few times, I began to skip some of the more schtick songs but there’s still plenty of substance and good content here. Reggie and the Full Effect may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you enjoy music that doesn’t take itself too seriously and isn’t afraid to be weird then there’s a lot to like about the group. It’s obviously the passion project of a very talented musician and his group of cohorts, and it's clearly good-natured fun.