Photo: Matt Barnes

Album Review: Barenaked Ladies – Fake Nudes

Published On November 29, 2017 | By Haydon Benfield | Albums, Music

Being four, fully clothed middle-aged men, Fake Nudes is the perfect title for a Barenaked Ladies album. Personal preference will dictate whether you scold the Canadian group for taking three decades and fifteen studio albums plus a handful of EPs – they’re a prolific bunch aren’t they – to finally make the joke, or commend them for holding off on making it for so long. In comedy, timing is everything, and there can be no doubt that the title would make for a one-note gag if it wasn’t for the election of President Trump and his bemoaning “fake news” in the face of negative press covfefe.

Sound wise, Fake Nudes doesn’t bear a great resemblance to the band’s big hits like One Week or the theme to The Big Bang Theory, with the upbeat energy of those songs swapped for a folk-inspired mellowness on many songs. The group’s characteristically askew view of the world is still on display, as with opening number Canada Dry, but it all feels especially bittersweet in its application. Invisible Fence embodies the subtle comedic-meets-melancholy vibe that permeates the record, and the song can be read as a dig at Trump and his ilk without being explicitly so, with the narrative of emotional isolation proving quite poignant.

Lead single Lookin’ Up takes its electro-pop sound too far, with the music sounding like an ad one hears for Spotify, and it is nowhere near as satisfying as the folksy acoustic tracks like Dusty Room or The Township of King, which closes the album. Navigate is basically the opposite of The Outdoor Type by The Lemonheads, with the narrator bragging about their ability to get by out in nature. Consisting of fourteen tracks, Fake Nude feels a little long despite ending strongly with 20/20 Hindsight and The Township of King. Paring the album down to ten or eleven songs probably would have resulted in a more potent release from Barenaked Ladies.

3.5 / 5 stars     

About The Author

::: Haydon is an amateur at everything who knows a little about everything, and a lot about nothing. After having had careers in retail and administration, he looks forward to establishing himself in an industry where he will be constantly stimulated intellectually and creatively.

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