February 19, 2018 Reggie and the Full Effect – 41 (Album Review)
Amusing to the max, Punk Rockers Reggie and the Full Effect are ready to gloriously mark the band’s 20th anniversary alongside the release of their seventh studio album, 41, set to drop on Friday, February 23, 2018. A whimsical collection and the band’s second release on Pure Noise Records, 41 hand-delivers the beloved trademark sound of Reggie and the Full Effect, awarding fourteen new tracks overflowing with colorful melodies and warm, moving lyrics – even the cold-hearted will shed tears.
Ahead of jumping into 41, for listeners who may be unfamiliar with the Kansas City, Missouri based band, Reggie and the Full Effect were founded in 1998 by James Dewees, keyboardist for the adored Pop Punk band The Get Up Kids. A clever new side-project for Dewees, where no member is actually named Reggie, Reggie and the Full Effect were a hit after their debut album, 1999’s Greatest Hits 1984-1987, was released on Second Nature Recordings.
Before long, Reggie and the Full Effect struck a deal with Vagrant Records and would go on to release four albums under the label, from 2000’s Promotional Copy through 2008’s Last Stop: Crappy Town. After five years, Reggie and the Full Effect returned for their sixth album, and the band’s first release on Pure Noise Records, 2013’s No Country For Old Musicians.
Possessing a cult-like fan-base, followers simply eat up the limitless Pop Punk existence of Reggie and the Full Effect, who are well-known and loved for their extremely entertaining live shows where anything can happen at any given time. Over the years, the band has gone through a cast of changes to their touring line-up though the multi-talented, Dewees plays all instruments on the records.
On a somber note, former Reggie and the Full Effect Drummer Billy Johnson passed away on February 13, 2018. Johnson was the band’s drummer for ten years and played on the aforementioned albums – 2008’s Last Stop: Crappy Town and 2013’s No Country For Old Musicians.
These days, Dewees (Lead Vocals, Keyboards) is joined by Lead Guitarist Jeramiah Pauly, Rhythm Guitarist Lance Claypool, Bassist Vincent Caito, and Drummer Michael Hanson to complete the current clique of Reggie and the Full Effect as they make their triumphant return with 41.
Taking the plunge into 41, the new album kicks off with the trippy interlude, “Il Sniffy Incontra,” furnishing some delicate background singing about how “Reggie” looks sleepy and how he should get some “sniffy” to awaken his senses. Next up, the catchy, upbeat tempo of “Il Pesce Svedese” portrays a person who has let someone important slip out of their life as they beg this person to stay (“All this means nothing if you’re still in pain“).
Reclusive “Alone Again” feels like being around people is not worth the heartache, as the out of sorts “Broke Down” relates to those not feeling quite like themselves. For the frustrated, if you are sick and tired of something, “Heartbreak” is your song. In contrast to the first five numbers, “Karate School” is one of Reggie and the Full Effect’s heavier and more lighthearted tunes, asking for a ride to Karate class and stressing the need to start kicking-ass.
“The Horrible Year” bears a great vibe, arriving with a New Wave keyboard intro and, despite the title, the imagery behind the lyrics is that of two people who are not in the best place in their lives yet unexpectedly find their happiest moments in each other. A complete 360 from the previous track, “New Years Day” is even further overwrought with gut-wrenching emotions, thus easily relatable to listeners who have been dealt the anguish of watching someone say goodbye. Tough to watch, “Maggie” illustrates how seeing a friend in pain can make you suffer just as much (“If it hurts you, it hurts me too“).
Wacky, but not unconventional for Reggie and the Full Effect, the 1980’s style instrumental “Channing Tatum Space Rollerblading Montage M…” is a blissful tune of old-school synthesizer effects – listeners will feel trapped in a video game. Then,”You’ve Got Secrets” exposes the truth with Dewees professing – “You’ve got secrets, well I’ve got secrets of my own.” Using an alternate personality on “Trap(ing) Music (Feat Common Denominator),” Dewees switches up into a persona he calls Common Denominator – a fictional Finnish Heavy Metal band – for a comical take on the Metal genre.
On “And Next With Feelings,” Dewees is an open book, spilling his guts, wishing someone special was around before the terrifically dramatic ballad, “Off Delaware,” closes out 41 with fantasies of just wanting to run away with the one you are nuts about and being sure of what is inside your heart.
Needless to say, fans of Reggie and the Full Effect will be captivated by 41 – the band’s most raw and emotional material to date. The way Dewees channels the emotive substance behind the lyrics is a moving and breathtaking revelation of his sublime art. While listeners of the band’s prior recordings perceive Reggie and the Full Effect as a merry and witty act, with plenty of great songs about adolescent angst, many may wonder if the talents of Dewees have peaked – and the answer is a resounding no. Dewees has emphatically elevated his game, as 41 is unquestionable proof of how deep into the depths of his soul Dewees is able to go for his best writing. A Pop Punk gem, CrypticRock gives 41 5 out of 5 Stars.