I met Devon Alana back in 2015 at The Scarlet Pub in New Brunswick; an unassuming little place with a good open mic night adorned by the unfortunate enchantment of stale urine. But it was there that I first heard That Voice. Since then, Devon and I have played more shows together than I can remember, and each time, without fail, she was the best singer in whatever room we’ve ended up.
Photo: Kris Khunachak Multimedia
In May 2020, Alana’s group Fake Pockets made their debut with Magnolia Street, a precious collection of indie-pop that was fun and light on its feet, if a little rough-edged. But it was a victim of perhaps the very poorest timing (Google “world events, May 2020” if you don’t remember) and instead of being a celebration of a special new band, the record landed with an indifferent thud.
I’m happy to report there will be no such indifference this time with Reverie. The title track has already been out for a few weeks along with a music video that’s been making its own set of rounds. They also have what promises to be one of the summer’s best shows on the calendar; a triple album release celebration with The Foes of Fern and The Extensions on June 16th.
But what about the EP itself? While Fake Pockets has been performing the majority of these songs live for several years, it’s great to hear them finally receive the studio treatment. Opener and title track “Reverie” has been out for a few weeks but still manages to come out of the gate strong and fast.
The next two tracks put drummer Jake Resnick on full display, first with the surfy, classic-sounding “…Cut My Losses,” and then “Shut it Out” which is a highlight. With it’s “I Want You to Want Me” shuffle, harmony wall, courtesy of Resnick and departing member Ahren Henby, and lockdown guitar solo from newcomer Cara Introcaso, “Shut it Out” isn’t just one of Fake Pockets’ best tunes, it’s one of the best songs to come out of New Jersey in 2023!
“Head in the Clouds” provides a steady comedown and necessary bridge before another standout. Closer “Side Effects” starts unassumingly enough, with a solo Devon Alana vocal accompanied by bassist Bill Lambusta switching to guitar with excellent effect. The song slowly swells to life and by the 1:30 mark, explodes with the joy of a confetti cannon at a kids birthday party. Absolutely bursting at the seams with melody and dynamism, “Side Effects” adds yet another contender to the list of Best Songs of 2023.
Having great songs played well is one thing. Having it all sound nice is another, and credit goes to the band itself and their team of engineers, Eric Bogacz and Bill Lambusta, producer Frank Lettieri, and mastering engineer Elaine Raskane. But Reverie has accomplished something intangible. It’s instilled in Fake Pockets a sense of renewed confidence that they can use to move forward. The grit has been smoothed out, corners are rounded and soft to the touch, and surfaces are glossy and bright. Magnolia
Street was good. Reverie is terrific! Majestic and imaginative in its execution, don’t be surprised when this record ends up on its share of year-end lists.
Catch Fake Pockets along with Asbury Park’s own The Foes of Fern, and fellow Mint 400 labelmates The Extensions June 16 th on The Baronet Rooftop at The Asbury Hotel. Doors are at 5:30p and the show is quickly selling out. So get your tickets now, or else you might be camped out from the ground level.
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