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Artist Spotlight: Fake Dad combines musical styles to reach listeners

“Yerba mala” is a Spanish phrase used to describe the weeds and vines that need to be removed so new flowers can grow, as is described by the front person of Fake Dad, Andrea de Varona. The singer’s mother would use that phrase while gardening, and it went on to be the namesake of the musical duo’s most recent EP.  

The five-track record is a multifaceted exploration of the band members' experiences, from interpersonal dynamics to de Varona’s nuanced relationship with first-generation Latinx identity to the entertainment industry’s contribution to body dysmorphia. The band tackles these topics with tact and skill, all through a masterful blend of bedroom synth-pop and indie rock. 

Fake Dad consists of members Andrea de Varona and Josh Ford. The group was formed in 2020 after the two met at a college party in the East Village of New York. They have sold out shows in the city they met in and landed on many official Spotify playlists, as well as consistently released singles and EPs from the comfort of their apartment. Their newest work is the next perfect step in their evolution as a band. 

“From friends to family to hometowns, these songs explore what it’s like to grow with (or apart from) other people in search of self-betterment,“ said de Varona. "Sometimes relationships change. Sometimes they get stronger, and sometimes they have to be left behind for you to heal and grow into the version of you that was always there, waiting to bloom.”

The EP kicks off with "So Dramatic!," a groovy and multi-layered track. de Varona’s raspy vocals maintain a level of strength that is supported by an electric sound of synths and dissonant harmonies.

The song is a melodramatic blend of rooted passion and modern style, brimming with vibrant energy. The lyrics are a combination of English and Spanish, a decision about which de Varona said, “Having bilingual lyrics that are never fully in Spanish was very intentional because we’re trying to capture the identity and existing duality of being a Hispanic person in America who may have grown up speaking primarily one language at home, but largely another in the outside world.”

Next on the EP is the avant-garde song, "Souvenir Store,"  which is much more ambient and melodic than the preceding track. On this song, de Varona’s vocals remain strong alongside the synth background. "Souvenir Store" contains a compelling through-line and a soul-feeding chorus, with an electric guitar supporting the ethereal falsetto vocals. The song chronicles the inner struggles of fear and anxiety, as well as the relatable narrative of coping mechanisms.

"FASHION GIRL" takes the record in an entirely new direction, with the only adequate descriptor being that it belongs in a modern rendition of a Quentin Tarantino movie. The subtle '80s inspiration makes it the most fast-paced song on the EP, and it features impressive high notes from the lead singer. 

"FASHION GIRL" is a blend between hyper-pop and electronic rock, complete with toe-tapping rhythms and a heavy bass beat. It dives into the topic of body dysmorphia within the fashion and entertainment industry in a delicate, yet visceral manner, making it an important and thought-provoking listen. 

The penultimate track of "Yerba Mala" is "I Like The Beach," which is a beautiful demonstration of de Varona’s out-of-the-mainstream vocal technique, putting her in the same category as musical rebels like Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin. The track is rhythmic and refined and creates the imagery of a bubble being popped with captivating crescendos throughout. "I Like The Beach" is a testament to de Varona’s cathartic desires and connections, packaged with slow-burning and soul-bearing intrigue. 

The final track, "Momento," neatly combines the overall style of the EP. It draws listeners in with shimmering soundscapes and intoxicating vocals, as well as a continuation of the earlier use of bilingual lyrics. The song exists to share the experience of a precious moment, and knowing how few and far between those intimate spaces are. The song is fully immersive and the utilization of vivid imagery makes it one of the best songs on the record. 

Fake Dad consists of two musicians from completely different backgrounds who were able to combine their styles into a colorful musical fusion. The seamless blend of these two unique artistic visions is brought to life by quirky synths and catchy guitar hooks. Fake Dad aims to use their perspective on anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia and other universal human experiences to create a comforting space for their listeners. 


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