Album Review: Faux Fiction ‘Staring at the Sun’



I first found out about Faux Fiction through a Twitter post boasting the first song they ever recorded, Dead Weight.  Upon immediately hitting play, I knew I was going to fall in love with this band through our shared affinity for guitar tones and rhythms made most popular by The Smashing Pumpkins and also adopted by bands such as Silversun Pickups.

However, this ‘90s revivalist sound that Faux Fiction explores is anything but limiting, at best, it’s refreshing.

Milwaukee is fortunate to have quite the diverse music scene.  Rock music, in particular, has evolved into an exciting amount of exploration and niche genres.  Over the past couple of years, there have been a few bands in the local rock scene who have shifted and worked their way to writing more radio-ready material without sacrificing cutting their indie-cred teeth.  Faux Fiction is at the forefront of that scene and the idea of having more solid, stadium pop-rock on local radio is greatly welcomed.  For example, Faux Fiction killed it last night on 88Nine’s 414 Music Live last night (performing on WMSE June 28th).

Photo Credit: Roxie Beane

Staring at the Sun is Faux Fiction’s bombastic debut album.  It is bursting with color, wonderful dynamic and features a group of talented individuals who fit perfectly together as a band.  You can tell lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Gabriella Kartz, once rooted herself as a singer-songwriter through her creative ability to craft lyrics and her commandingly powerful sense of melody.

Lead guitarist, Jason Kartz, brings a fantastic knowledge of tone and sound development to the band and I have a high admiration for his use of melody when writing leads.  Jason has little guitar flourishes throughout all of the songs that really help add some nice stereo asides to the pummeling rhythm he and Gabriella otherwise collaborate on.

Staring at the Sun is another huge accomplishment for Faux Fiction’s rhythm section made up of Peter Hair (bass) and Paul Tyree (Drums).  Peter has strengthened his bass on this debut by weaving in some nicely executed parts as well as rhythmically complimenting Paul Tyree’s epic command on drums.  There are very few drummers in Milwaukee setting such a tight foundation.

One thing Staring at the Sun achieves, exceedingly so, is capturing Faux Fiction’s live qualities thanks to Shane Hochstetler’s work at Howl Street Recordings.  The listener is instantly blasted off with copious amounts of riff-rock tracks such as one of my personal favorites, ‘Between Heartbeats’.

While set back into the track-listing, ‘Wasted Time’ is a quintessential culmination of the quartet’s strengths with its beautiful composition sensibilities and memorable, thick chorus.

Also, if you’re looking for the summer anthem, look no further than the incredibly catchy and dynamically driven ‘Good Things’.

Staring at the Sun will easily be making my top ten list this year so grab your copy now.

Faux Fiction’s CD release show is tonight (June 17) at the Riverwest Public House with Myles Coyne and The Midwest Beat.  Show starts at 9PM with a $5 cover.

Also be sure to ‘like’ and follow Faux Fiction on Facebook for updates.  The band will be on tour this summer as well as at local Milwaukee affairs such as Chill On The Hill.

If you are in a band and have an album that you would like me to consider reviewing, please send a link to  I would love to hear from you!

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