During The Get Up Kids career two side projects were formed. One was the acoustic driven The New Amsterdams led by Get Up Kids’ vocalist Matt Pryor, and the other was the mysterious pop/synth-core act Reggie and the Full Effect created by keyboardist James Dewees. When Reggie released Greatest Hits 1984-1987 in 1999, I was drawn towards this mix of synthesizer driven pop and wouldn’t let the disc leave my player for weeks. Not only was the group made up of members from The Get Up Kids but also featured a member of metalcore act Coalesce.
A year later and Reggie comes back with Promotional Copy, a much more mysterious album with “guest” appearances from 80’s synth singer Fluxuation, a death metal band from Finland called Common Denominator, and a couple dance songs. While Promotional Copy was great when the actual Reggie songs like “From Me 2 U,” “Thanx For Stayin,” and “Fought and Won One” were playing; The comedic songs just seemed to throw off the album. With Promotional Copy Reggie also spiced up his sound by introducing the synth-core mix, bringing in Coalesce front man Sean Ingram (a.k.a. Hungary Bear) with the song “Something I’m Not.”
Reggie’s next release was 2003’s Under the Tray. Now Reggie seemed to concentrate more on the comedy side of the music only leaving a few standout tracks with their original style, so personally I had low expectations for the 2005 follow up Songs Not To Get Married To. I finally decided to give the new album a chance and recently bought Songs Not To Get Married To. After reading mixed opinions regarding this album and hearing how the songs on this release were more on the serious side and also explored the synth-core style using more vocals from Sean Ingram, my hopes were raised.
The first track on the disc, “What the Hell is Contempt,” opens the CD with the ferocious roar from Hungary Bear and shows that Reggie most certainly is back in Full Effect. The second track “Get Well Soon” is so far my favorite track and reminds me of Reggie songs from the Greatest Hits/Promotional Copy albums. Track three, “What the Hell is Stipulation,” sounds like part two of the first song once again bringing Sean Ingram to the mic. “Caving” is another track reminiscent to the Reggie’s earlier albums and is another stand outsong; unfortunately it is also (in my opinion) the last standout track on the album. Next in line is the hardcore/metalcore song “The Trooth” which has James Dewees in a screaming battle with Sean Ingram and the synth/pop dance track “Take Me Home, Please.” Now, I’m not going to bash the lyrics because we all know that through all his releases they have always been on the comical side and easily written. Other sites keep bringing up James’ recent divorce and pointing out how they are reflected on the album, but of course something like that is going to be inspiration for any musician. The song “Thanks for the Misery” is a fine example of this inspiration as well as the closing track “Playing Dead,” both tracks being some of the slowest songs from Reggie’s resume. In between these two tracks is the variety seen on the previous albums bringing back Fluxuation (“Love Reality”), Common Denominator (“Deathnotronic”), and the dance track “Laura’s Australian Dance Party.”
To sum up Reggie and the Full Effect’s 2005 release Songs Not To Get Married To I would rate it right next to Promotional Copy. While it doesn’t focus on the comical side of Reggie like Under The Tray did, it does have its weak moments leaving only a few great songs. But like Promotional Copy showed, when Reggie releases these great songs they really shine. *6/10*
This is a Top 10 album in my book. Taking the album as a whole (themed around his divorce), it completely takes me through the motions. "The Trooth" is one of the hardest songs I've heard all year while "Playing Dead" is one of the softest and saddest I've heard all year. Each track offers something new or hard hitting (There are one or two tracks near the end that I could do without but they make this a Reggie album). To each his or her own, I suppose...