Facing New York - Facing New York
Record Label: Five One Inc.
Release Date: August 30th
So here I am in 2012 and I’m only just discovering this little gem of an album from seven whole years ago. The little gem in question is of course (if you hadn’t figured it out from the title of this review) Facing New York’s self-titled album, featuring Matt Fazzi of Taking Back Sunday New Again fame and for being the clever guy behind Happy Body Slow Brain’s Dreams of Water. Fazzi’s vocals don’t take center stage here though, as instead you have Eric Frederic on lead vocals (as well as guitar/keyboards). As with Happy Body Slow Brain (and Straylight Run, The Color Fred, Breaking Pangaea, Terrible Things, John Nolan’s solo stuff for that matter) the only reason I even know this band exists is thanks to the ever changing line-up of Taking Back Sunday. So many members of TBS have either been in bands before or have left and started new ones, meaning that there is a load of good music to discover if you follow the career paths of their constantly rotating guitarist roster. In the case of Facing New York, this is the band that Fazzi was in before he joined Taking Back Sunday.
The album kicks off with the inspirational “We Are”, a driving song that opens with the line ‘We are the young men, we are the desperation’ before only a few lines later Frederic proclaims ‘I know I must move on.’ It’s heavy stuff right from the start, but luckily the band accompanies their dark lyrics with instrumentation that’s just as complex, if not more so. This is where Fazzi shines in a way that he wasn’t really able to on “New Again” (his style clashed way too much with TBS’s more straightforward pop-punk sound…) and proves that he truly is an excellent guitarist. The guitar parts are quite frankly the best thing about the album and provide a thoroughly engaging accompaniment to the vocals.
“Cutting My Hair” is easily the most accessible song on the album and is a good place to start listening to this band. It opens with gorgeous keyboards as Frederic’s equally gorgeous vocals croon over the top, making for a, you guessed it, gorgeous first verse. Once the guitars come in, the chorus follows soon after and the song grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go. Although there isn’t really a song as immediately catchy as “Cutting My Hair” (well, “Javelina” and “Full Turn” come damn close), they will eventually grow on you and you’ll find that “Cutting My Hair” is actually one of the weaker songs on the album (but still worthy of a 9/10 score on its own, which is a testament to the quality of the album).
The two slower songs, “Apple Sugar Cider” and “Tip of the Iceberg”, are both quite well placed on the albums track listing, coming in at tracks 5 and 7, respectively. They change it up a bit and provide the album with some variety, seeing as the other songs are, for the most part, quite fast paced. “Apple Sugar Cider” in particular is rather well done and provides an opportunity for Frederic to once again show off his awesome vocals. Once the song explodes towards the end, he sings “Apple sugar cider/no wood to start fire/apple sugar cider/no match, no spark, no lighter” in what is possibly the best vocal melody on the entire album.
So would I recommend Facing New York’s self-titled record? Of course I would. It’s one of the most unique rock albums I’ve ever heard and is, in my opinion, up there with Happy Body Slow Brain’s Dreams of Water. If you enjoyed that, then you’re sure to love this as well. I’ve yet to listen to Facing New York’s second (and final?) album Get Hot, but if it’s half as good as this, then Facing New York may well become one of my favourite bands.
Boom! I remeber someone from the band was walking up and down the line of people waiting to get in warped tour when I was probably 15 or 16, he stopped and played me a song off the ep they put out before that cd, I still have it and listen to it frequently...its that good. I shall listen to this CD now!