Somehow this little group from Boston, who is actually just one dude, made its way into my pile of things to listen to. Unaware of the band, Faces on Film has now won me over, unexpectedly, with their album The Troubles.
“Friends with Both Arms,” opens up the album pleasantly, with Mike Fiore coming across your ears like a more eager Hamilton Leithauser. The vocal quality is quite similar, at least in that hollow echo aspect; here it sounds more complete than Hamilton.
From here it goes into “I’ll Sleep to Protect You.” Upon several listens this sounds like a lost Modest Mouse demo that we never got the chance to hear. It has a little more beauty, which I think keeps the track focused, but it still has that primitive folk sound.
Then we take a short jump onto “Natalie’s Numbers,” which recalls the bedroom folk of Eliott Smith, as far as guitar sound goes, with the vocal tracings of Win Butler. The chorus is fixed with nonsensical lyrics accompanied by a female vocalists, and although its unexpected at this point, it provides an interesting view to the insight of this song.
“Troubles at Last” is one of those songs that shouldn’t have been included. Its just studio noise.
“Famous Last Words” carries on with a bit of bounce, but it still appears to maintain that Arcade Fire association, which when prepared isn’t entirely off-setting. I suppose the majority of this allusion is due to the vocals, all which resemble early AF. And it’s juxtaposed with a Walkmen meets Modest Mouse echo of a song in “The Winner’s Daughter.” Although the feeling is similar to that of other songs, it seems out of sorts for some reason, and is probably one of the weaker songs on the album.
The rest of the album follows suit, wearing concert t-shirts of previously mentioned bands, only adding a Dr. Dog reference point near the end with “Medical Mind.” But just wait until the end because “Indicator, Indicator” is really fantastic. It is the precise closing moment for this album, letting the listener relax and rest as the album draws to a close.
Despite a lot of obvious references, some too obvious, the album has an enjoyable quality to it, one which gives it some merit. However, it lacks a bit of pace, and I mean that in the sense of the song, not in the flow of the album. Each song would benefit from just a bit of pace, but then again, its not my album. At the end, it ends the way it should, leaving Faces on Film with a few merit badges for their effort and a few more for quality.
You can download the entire album on their Myspace Page.