The Lake Effects are a trio of Kent State University students (fellow KSU student, Christian Woltman also contributed bass to a couple of tracks), whose debut LP was released on a local label started by KSU alum, Scott Miker. Their post rock leanings are complimented by the twin guitar attack of vocalist Patrick Brennan and Bryan Pauley, and Brennan sweetens the pie somewhat with his pretty piano flourishes on tracks like ?The Sun Shines,? although his vocals are a little flat and one dimensional. ?On My Way Down? has quite a catchy, ska-inflected riff propelling it across the dance floor and there?s a funky reggae vibe, a la Joe Jackson to ?Last Line.? Elsewhere, the boys pull out their acoustic guitars for the short ?Before Triumph? and ?? and Days Go By,? which form the mellow part of the trip where the audience hunkers down and settles cross-legged on the floor!
?Fake Friends? is not a cover of the old Joan Jett song, although it does have her metallic, crunchy bite and is marred only by weak, tuneless vocals. But Brennan does redeem himself somewhat with his classical solo piece, ?Persephone,? which reminded me, melodically at least, of Something Corporate?s ?Konstantine,? although it?s completely out of place in these surroundings and probably belongs on an EP or CD single.
Overall, I found the album a little too kitchen-sinky, bouncing recklessly between the post rock instrumental ?Kes? that bookends the album, to folky acoustic tracks like ?Fix This Mess? and the aforementioned classical instrumental. The band needs to be a little more focused in their approach and decide just where their strengths are ? I liked the folky, introspective tracks the most ? and they could use a better vocalist. Nevertheless, an interesting debut with lots of ideas and even more potential. 6/10 -- Jeff Penczak (13 February, 2007)