I enjoy Face To Face. I think that they have some great punk
anthems (like Walk The Walk or Ordinary). I think
that they are one of the best So Cal punk bands. I have enjoyed
their albums -- even the last one which seemed more new wave
I looked forward to the release of this album. Not only is
it 12 new songs, but it's 12 new songs that the fans selected
as the best from the batch of MP3's that Face To Face put up
on their website
in March. It was a neat idea -- dump all of the new stuff up
there and let the fans decide what's the best of the batch.
Well, it seems that the theory was better than the application.
The 12 songs featured here are the least edgy and most generic
of the bunch. The fans voted for Face To Face to take no challenges,
to do nothing new and instead try and re-write their earlier
That's fine. I can see how sometimes you don't want a band
to change. However, what bothers me is that Face To Face were
willing to play along.
Oh sure, it's what the fans wanted. Now. Will this album be
remembered in three year's time, or will those same fans have
moved on to the latest thing with that "sound"?
The end result is that this album sounds kind of generic. Crunchy
guitars. Thundering drums. Vocals sometimes sung, sometimes
yelled. It's the "punk formula" done over and over.
But there doesn't seem to be any soul in it! When Face To Face
wailed out Ordinary, they were singing about their own
experiences with isolation and loneliness. Their anger was sincere.
I sense no sincerity in this album. They are simply following
It's all the more disappointing because the studio album before
this one, Ignorance Is Bliss, took a lot of risks.
Trevor Keith sang a lot and yelled less. They played with melodies
that lie firmly outside the realm of punk. There was a string
section on a couple of songs fer chrissakes! They were taking
Apparently, not everyone liked that album. I did, but i think
that the reaction from their fan base (which is not entirely
made up of jaded and bitter thirty year old music geeks but
instead consists mostly of teenage boys who are also into "extreme
sports") was largely negative. Perhaps this album is a direct
result of that. Face To Face got scared of losing their fans,
so this time around they let the fans have total power.
Another comment, and this is true of almost all of their recorded
body of work -- Face To Face have never figured out how to record
themselves. On this album the guitars sound really really slick.
Trevor Keith's voice is waaaay up front. I would like a little
more fuzz and distortion on those guitars, and for Trevor to
be buried a little in the mix. (I guess what i really want is
for Steve Albini to produce them, but oh well.)
I was quite disappointed with this album. Oh, it's not bad,
but i know that they are capable of so much more! It seems like
they took a big step backwards, musically.
My advice to you -- go track down a copy of their Live
album from 1998. That's some good, sincere, punk rock!