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Face To Face | Standards and Practices | review | punk | Lollipop

Face To Face

Standards and Practices (Vagrant)
by Tim Den

Standards and Practices is like Face to Face's entire career: spotty. They make you sing at the top of your lungs one minute, and have you scratching your head going "What the hell were they thinking?" the next. They tackle ten covers on this thing - as if the world needs more cover albums - and only hit the target when the song is akin to their own material (they should've learned not to shoot higher than their abilities by now from the Ignorance is Bliss disaster). Jawbreaker's "Chesterfield King," Sugar's "Helpless," and (who else?) the Ramones' "The KKK took My Baby Away" all sound modernized (except who needs modernized Ramones songs? The originals beat any remake. Plus, it's just not the same without Joey's vocals), but that's where the good stuff ends (and if you really wanted good stuff, you wouldn't be buying a cover album by a punk band doing unnecessary punk covers and bad New Wave credibility attempts). The Pixies' "Planet of Sound" is a huge mess, and don't even get me started on Fugazi's "Merchandise" and The Smiths' "What Difference Does it Make?".

It's a bad idea to cover bands whose charisma carried the tunes more than the actual melody/structure of the songs, it's even worse to have a singer as straight-man-sounding as Trevor Keith trying to convey the sort of enigma (Morrissey) and energy (Ian MacKaye) that he just doesn't have. What he ends up sounding like is sleepy (in The Smiths' cover, since his range is way too low for the song), knuckle-dragging ape-ish (The Psychedelic Furs' "Heaven"), and just plain limp-throated and unconvincing ("Merchandise"). Face to Face is slowly changing their trademark from being the purveyors of fine sing-alongs to "the guys who just don't realize they're a punk band and nothing else."
(2118 Wilshire Blvd. #361 Santa Monica, CA 90403)  


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