If the name Liam Lynch already rings a bell, chances are it’s because of his short-lived sock-puppet based The Sifl and Olly Show. Though incredibly low budget, the show garnered big laughs thanks in large part to Lynch’s goofy puppet designs. But without the corresponding visuals Fake Songs is on its way to becoming — shudder — a musical comedy album. At its worst, tracks like “Still Wasted From the Party Last Night” and “Happy Song” come across like contrived morning DJ songs created solely to annoy. These songs lack only a forced laugh track to make them completely worthless. While the comedy side of the album falls almost completely flat (“United States of Whatever” is funny in a very MTV sort of way), the pseudo-serious songs come across as slavish homage. Sure, Lynch gives some of these songs getting-away-with-it titles (“Fake Bjork Song,” “Fake Bowie Song,” etc.), but what about the blatant T-Rex rip-off “Cuz You Do” then? It doesn’t poke fun at anything, just sits there, rocks an old groove and wonders what to do with itself before giving way to an ode to internal organs (“I’m All Bloody Inside”). What?!
The accompanying DVD comes overflowing with music videos, behind the scenes footage, home movies and animation segments. It’s a shame that 90% of this is puppet-less filler. The behind the scenes portion is utterly mind-boggling. Lynch must have a very healthy ego to think that anyone needs to watch all of the minutiae of his recording process. The idea of providing a running, serious commentary to a comedy album would be very post-modern cool if it wasn’t so completely boring. The music video section contains at least a few laughs. “Rapbot” going on an old-school rampage is extremely funny while “Frankie Forcefield Theme Song,” an ode to one of Lynch’s cats, rates pretty high on the cuteness scale. Hm. That’s about it.
Someone should tell Lynch that he’s got to make a decision: go for comedy or play it straight. If he chooses to play the “serious” musician, he’s got to learn that simple music obsession isn’t an excuse for a general lack of originality. If he opts for comedy (pleasepleaseplease) he’ll have to recognize his “funny” is a sock with his hand in it. But, please, nothing like this again.