One year facing it – Stereoface

face it

Face it was out the 20.01.12 and I want to celebrate its first year by getting back the review I did for a Spanish blog and translate it -with valuable help- for you.

Face it is the second LP by the Styrian band Stereoface, long-awaited while the formation was changing and the musicians were growing up. And I had a big surpise when I found out that this record leaves the Britpop melodies from the previous one and shows a much bigger musical maturity than the one that would fit the age and experience of the members of this band.

The album opens with Distress, which was a single several months before we could hold the record in our hands. A little trick for the fans who were expecting to find the Stereoface we knew; a song that is reminiscent of their past recordings and makes us believe that everything is going to be the same as before. But then we have How can you know? There’s an abyss between the first and the second track, and the new band comes to light, a band that hasn’t abandoned their roots, but does have learned new things. Paul Pfleger‘s broken voice merges with the torn sounds from the guitars, and they both compose an original and complete song.

The third track is I don’t mean it, which we also heard before we could listen to the whole album, since it was the second single. Not to delittle the previous song, this one was (because it was released before) the first big surprise. It was definitely the key to know that this record had more than we expected in it and was going to be even better. The persisting rhythm that is present in the whole song won’t be easily forgotten, and the psychedelic wink in the lyrics (“I am not as think as you stoned I am”) shows how these musicians won’t be stopped by anything. By the way, the lyrics are supervised by the producer, Clive Martin, due to the fact that English is not the mother tongue of these Austrian boys (just in case you wondered).

Next up: Who needs the eye? Did anyone say psychedelia? Here we have a good dose, along with lyrics that put their finger on the sore spot. And talking about more mature lyrics, In the queue brings us a melancholic declaration at its right cadence, leading the heartbeat of the listener to the rhythm of Günther Paulitsch‘s drums, exciting them bit a bit to a climax of instruments that doesn’t get calmed till the last stretch of the song.

The soil is the sixth track that, as well as Distress, reminds us of the previous works of the band though with a new point of view. It’s followed by Quelle horreur, a song full of rage with a video that keeps the psychedelic scent of the record going, and where, as in some other songs, we can hear the collaboration of the former drummer, Benny Musenbichler, as well as Paulitsch.

Love inside a zoo is an old friend now. We had already heard it live, but having it on the album, with its postproduction possibilities, the reverb in the voice, is exactly what it needed. The whole song is sustained by Lukas Schneeberger‘s bass, and hand to hand at the guitar between Pfleger and Nino Kadletz finishes masterfully the song. But then we have Fool like me which, despite being a very good song with high quality sounds, is the more naive song in the album, with lyrics that don’t reach the level of the rest, the same problem that had Slippin’ out on ice, from the EP 15 Minutes in Stereo. It’s a real pity, because this would be a great song for any other band, but we would expect more of Stereoface.

And, like from darkness to light, we leave Fool like me and arrive in Shoes. Shoes. Shoes, remember this title because it has strong chances to enter the History of Music. The music, the lyrics, Kadletz‘s guitar, every sound fits perfectly with the following one, the two parts that integrate it… Shoes was in the live repertoire years ago as well as Love inside a zoo, but the road it has taken to finally be on the album we are listening to has made it the perfect song, the one we would be willing to listen to on and on.

Face it doesn’t end here, we still have Bones and The Other, the first one being more introspective and the second one more rock, which finish an album that is dangerously near to something godlike. And I’ve said “finish” because there is another problem here: The album doesn’t end with The Other, but we have one more song: Hardly. A very slow song that is placed in a bad position to be estimated as it deserves. After listening to the whole album, after all the emotions and excitement, we find ourselves very tired and The Other has left us with a feeling of closure, so Hardly seems to us like a bonus track and we just get relaxed with it. But Hardly deserves being taken seriously and listened to with all our senses, enjoy the echo, and let ourselves be broken by the weeping of the guitars.

As we can see, a couple of errors free this album from the chains of perfection, but seeing the progress with huge strides of the band, we can dread a next album which takes us to new worlds we can’t even dream about. Bravo.

The original post in Spanish was published on groarl.com

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