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Straight rock 'n' roll is focus of the Pump Fakes' new release

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By Rege Behe
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
 

It's not that Patrick Maloney doesn't appreciate the latest indie bands that feature "soaring harmonies or bells or whistles or flutes or something like that." He understands why critics fall in love with groups of that ilk.

It's just not his style. What's wrong with rock 'n' roll, straight up, no chaser?

"That's how I write and how we play," says Maloney of his band the Pump Fakes.

The band's second album, "Falling to the Occasion," will be released Friday at Club Cafe, South Side.

Maloney, guitarist Jeff Pfenninger and drummer Dave Whaley (all of the South Side) and bassist Darren Hammel (Bellevue) rip through a series of uptempo rockers a la the Rolling Stones of the late '70s. But there's another equally important influence at play that emerges on "Death of Me," when the band quotes The Replacements' "Here Comes a Regular."

"The Replacements are one of the more prominent influences in what I do and how I want the band to sound," Maloney says. "I can remember seeing 'Paul Westerberg is God' graffiti in Minneapolis in the '80s, and I really understand where that came from. I think he's brilliant, and he's very close to my heart when I'm writing and playing."

The album was produced by Sean McDonald, of Sofa King Music Services in Swissvale, who brought in some side players to help flesh out the sound. Rob James of the Clarks adds vintage Mick Taylor-esque guitar, and Skip Sanders, who performs with Bill Deasy and the Clarks, adds soulful rock 'n roll piano and organ.

While there are plenty of high-octane songs on "Falling to the Occasion," two mid-tempo tracks stand out: "Heal," which features the soulful backup vocals of Joy Brown and Bernice Wilkerson, and "Your Other White Dress," a country-rock tune that sounds like a Steve Earle outtake.

"I've always wanted to do fast rock 'n' roll songs," Maloney says, "and I've always wanted to do something in between to bridge that gap. ... The songs aren't slow, but they're not fast, and I wanted to cover that side, fill up that space."

If there's a downside to "Falling to the Occasion," it's of timing. Straightforward rock 'n' roll albums, unfortunately, are out of vogue. Can a record that's not trendy or hip or au courant succeed• Especially by a bunch of guys in their late 30s.

Maloney hopes so.

"Our goal is just to have a place at the table," he says. "We just want to be heard."

Additional Information:

CD release party

Pump Fakes CD release party

With: Rob James of the Clarks and Good Brother Earl

When: 10:30 p.m. Friday

Admission: $7

Where: Club Cafe, South Side

Details: 866-468-3401, www.ticketweb.com

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