Face To Face

Three Chords And A Half Truth

Written by: PP on 31/05/2013 21:04:51

After spending the majority of the 2000s on hiatus, 90s punk legends Face to Face returned triumphantly with 2011's "Laugh Now, Laugh Later", a no-frills, no-bullshit melodic punk album that echoed the sentiments of the 90s music scene in general. This was an era of rock music where your sound didn't need to be polished, attitude-driven, or guided by the latest fashion, it was instead all about writing great songs that caught onto their listeners easily, while displaying an altogether honest and down-to-earth approach to songwriting. Now, it took them only two years to release a follow-up in the form of "Three Chords And A Half Truth", so you'd expect them to keep the train rolling forward in a steady, feisty punk rock pace with big sing alongs resounding off the passenger cars being pulled behind.

Instead, their eighth album is one that you would normally call a 'mature' album, typically the third or fourth release of a band when they are settling down into a sound. It's a significant departure from their high-octane So-Cal punk sound, instead going for a mid-tempo approach that recalls the likes of Social Distortion and Hot Water Music. In fact, the best way to put it is to say "Three Chords And A Half Truth" sounds a lot like HWM on "Caution" if they were a tad bit more melodic and less gravelly in their vocal delivery. Thus, it sits right in the middle ground between those guys and Social D, which means a very different Face To Face sound, but fortunately not a negative change at all. The upbeat "Bright Lights Go Down" is big on the sing along melody in the best HWM manner, whereas "Right As Rain" mirrors Social D style southern, laid back punk rock in its delivery. Again, it's a different sound that takes some getting used to, given the slower tempo and less melodic overall expression, but the songwriting on display is still quintessentially Face To Face: simple, believable punk rock songs with great melodies that catch on the first listen.

Other highlights include "Flat Black" and the title-track, but really, most tracks uphold the consistency in songwriting that the band was known for throughout the 90s when they released a number of genre classics. There are sing alongs, thick bass lines, sparkling guitar riffs, and edgy vocals. All that you need in a solid punk rock release. That being said, while the slower style has added a degree of complexity into their music that simply didn't exist in the past, it's not necessarily better than what they were doing in the past. It's good, but fast, skate punk-ish melodic punk is what Face To Face were best at. "Three Chords And A Half Truth" is therefore a decent album, but probably not the one you'd start out with if checking out the band for the first time.

Download: Right As Rain, Bright Lights Go Down, Flat Black, Three chords And A Half Truth
For the fans of: Social Distortion, Hot Water Music, H2O, The Bouncing Souls
Listen: Facebook

Release date 09.04.2013
Antagonist Records / Rise Records

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