Faces Reviews

Read my reviews of albums by Faces:

This band was formed when the rhythm section and keyboardist of Small Faces teamed up with the original lead singer and bassist of the Jeff Beck Group.

1970: Faces (8/10)

Full disclosure: I love this band. I have an irrational love of their next two albums, both of which I have listened to way too many times. So even though this record is acknowledged as a bit of a mess I knew I wanted to listen to it anyway and I knew I would like it.

Regardless of material, I remain impressed by the narrative: two bands, neither of which played Stonesy R&B and rock and roll, fell apart and so formed this third band that performed Stonesy R&B and rock and roll. Now matter how familiar I am with Small Faces, the Jeff Beck Group and Faces, I cannot get over how weird this all seems (and likely seemed at the time). It’s weird. (What’s weirder is that Marriott left the Small Faces so he could play his own music, which sounds an awful lot like this. Though I definitely prefer Faces to Humble Pie.)

So, I have to get to it eventually: the material is not exactly stellar. Or, rather, there’s too much material for a band like this and some of that material does not need to be here. The instrumentals in particular are totally unnecessary. It’s the plague of many a debut album but all of these guys were veterans by this point so it’s interesting that they made that mistake. (My guess is that they were just really enthusiastic.) They would improve vastly as songwriters the next time out.

It’s kind of insane that at least one critic at the time described this band as too precise. Even this early they are almost hilariously loose, threatening to fall apart at any moment. (Though not to the extend of later records.) That has an immense appeal for me, both because I like that in general but also because it’s so counter to everything that was happening in music at the time.

I should rate this lower but, alas, I like it too much. I knew I would.

Read my reviews of albums released in 1970.

Faces albums from 1971:

Long Player (9/10)

I’ve never heard their debut [when I wrote this review], but this record makes a very strong case for The Faces being the best pure Rock and Roll band in the world at the time. (Apologies to the Stones, who probably were, but who were, at least at this point, arguably more diverse than that.) In addition it is a shocking left turn from both The Small Faces and The Jeff Beck Group (even though there’s that debut, which probably was the shocking turn).

I want to love this unconditionally, but I can’t. “I Feel So Good” is proof positive that live singalongs cannot translate onto record. If I skipped tracks when reviewing albums (and I don’t) I would skip it. I skip it when it comes on my iPod. I’d skip it if I was listening to this without reviewing it. It’s just entirely unnecessary.

Otherwise, one of the best rock and roll albums of the era.

A Nod’s as Good as a Wink…to a Blind Horse (9/10)

This is a better record than Long Player, as it omits the unnecessary live singalong track.

This one finds them finding the perfect balance between the freewheeling rock and roll written by Wood and Stewart with the storytelling of Lane (which somehow works with this backing). I think Lane was one of the underrated songwriters of his era and the songs here make a good case for it.

One of the great rock and roll records of the decade.

Read my reviews of music from 1971.

1973: Ooh La La (6?/10)

I have listened this a few times, probably enough to review it at some point but I never have. Weirdly RYM has it as their best album which it absolutely isn’t.

Read my reviews of 1973 albums.