Originality Not Strong on Eleventyseven's "Believe"

Artist:  Eleventyseven
Title:  "And the Land of Fake Believe"
Label:  Flicker

When Matthew Langston sings “There’s nothing good left to imitate” in “More Than a Revolution,” the opening track of Eleventyseven’s debut disc, "And the Land of Fake Believe," perhaps he protests too loudly.

As much fun as this punk/pop trio’s punchy positivity is, originality is not its strong suit.  Like The Ataris, All American Rejects, MXPX and Blink 182, this youthful Greenville, S.C.-based trio molds itself in great ’80s and ’90s bands such as Green Day and Material Issue, who themselves were a modern beat reflection on bands like The Ramones and The Kinks. 

There’s plenty of good music, it appears, that’s worth imitating. And it’s true that Eleventyseven does do this genre extremely well, avoiding most of the pitfalls that lead to redundancy and complacency. OK, “Here With Me” is a tired love ballad, and Langston’s voice can get whiny; but for the most part, "Fake Believe" is catchy, witty and entertaining. If Dick Clark asked me, I’d give it an 83 (out of 100). It has a beat, and you can dance to it.

Lyrically, Langston (vocals and guitar), Caleb Satterfield (bass) and Jonathan Stephens (drums) aim to put a positive spin on earthy issues such as “Teenage Heartbreak.” Think imposing a Christian message into "The Breakfast Club." “Nostalgiatopia” invites one to engage life to the fullest, and “MySpace” challenges the false intimacy created in cyberspace communications. “Odds and Even So’s” takes on the disillusionment that leads some to suicide. Consistently, the point is that God’s good world is here, and Christ makes it possible to live wholly and passionately. Point well taken. 
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