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James Dewees
-from Long Island, NY

-Not only is 2018 the 20 year anniversary for the act Reggie and the Full Effect, but it is also the same year that the name can add their 7th studio album, ‘41,’ to their discography. Reggie and the Full Effect is the solo project of James Dewees, otherwise known as the keyboardist for influential pop-punk band The Get Up Kids. The 14 song album focuses on pain and processing such pain using Dewees most loved attribute, humor. But it’s not all jokes for Dewees this go around, he got more serious and opened up. The album begins in true RATFE funny fashion by adding a monk like chant as the introduction. Once that subsides, “il Pesce Svedese” kicks in and Dewees raspy vocals take you back in time to when we were all first introduced to the solo project. He kept true to the early 2000’s sound in the first half of the album and this is especially found with the first few seconds of “Alone Again” where you hear Dewees recognizable resonating synth tones come out to play. “Broke Down” is one of those tracks that can personally speak to everyone. “I’m just a little broke down, just a little broke up,” is the first chorus line and it grabs you from within when paired up with those pounding guitar riffs.

Listeners get a different side to Reggie and the Full Effect in the second half of ‘41.’ Dewees may not have the most favorable singing voice but he’s got his own originality and that’s what people love about his music. “The Horrible Year” gives fans the opportunity to hear Dewees’ vocals shine through more smoothly. The rawness comes back at the end of the track and it’s the intensity in the lyrics that made this one my favorite. The mood shifts with “New Years Day” and Dewees breaks down those emotional walls and speaks from the heart. You can’t but help feel the pain behind the lyrics and hurt with him.

Instrumentally, “Maggie,” takes the top spot for me. The heavy percussions and bass riffs stay solid throughout the track and then suddenly halt to pave the way for a whimsical fade out. No RATFE album is complete without a few goofy tracks. “Channing Tatum Space Rollerblading Montage Music” (feat. fluxuation) and “Trap(ing) Music” (feat Common Demoniator) are those two prize pieces. These are two songs I’m interested in seeing translated live and what Dewees can pull out of his hat for them. The final two tracks, “And Next With Feeling” and “Off Delaware” conclude the album with a more serious vibe and Dewees gives fans one last look into his intended message in ‘41.’

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I’m not going to lie, it took me a few tries to really enjoy this album but once I really sat and focused on the album as a whole, it got me. It’s been four years since the last Reggie and the Full Effect album and that time did Dewees well. He’s come back with a pleasing album that is lyrically in depth as well as instrumentally fulfilling. Dewees has kept that emo touch on his music but with an adult twist.

Sunday, December 16, 2018 | Bottom of the Hill | Tickets can be purchased here

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