|Facing New York – Facing New York|
Release Date: August 30, 2005
Record Label: Five One Inc
When Facing New York was formed in the ashes of Locale A.M., they were quick to write, record, and release an incredible 6 song EP full of quick prog-rock tunes that pushed boundaries and still managed to be incredibly catchy. Full of melodies built on keyboard parts, Swimming Not Treading was a great EP. After another split EP, the band headed into the studio to record their debut full-length. It’d be an understatement to say I had high expectations for this CD. The only real flaws with their last album were somewhat suspect lyrics, but I let it slide, seeing as how they were such a young band. The music was excellent. Now, with the release of their self-titled full length, the opposite is the problem. No longer a band with seemed to be superficial lyrics, Facing New York’s new release takes a turn towards the introspective. Slower, methodical, and more dynamic, Facing New York’s album will upset many old fans, but receive a great amount of acclaim from critics.
Facing New York’s older music more or less a pop version of prog-rock. The new material is far more dynamic than before, but heart is lost in the mix. Somehow, while writing these new songs, the band chose to take it down a notch (the album’s fastest song, “Javelina,” is slower than the slowest song on the Swimming Not Treading EP.) Occasionally, this produces beautiful results. “Apple Sugar Cider” is a gentle song, with subtle keyboard parts combined with spacey lyrics. As vocal lines are repeated, several parts come together to form a fantastic 6 minute song that builds to an epic finish. But on the other hand, Facing New York’s slower, is sometimes, for lack of a better word, boring. The band is simply better when they push the tempo, and the Frances the Mute ambient material the band tries to pull off at times simply doesn’t work. Songs like “Tip of the Iceberg” are simply boring.
Some people may liken Facing New York’s change in style to a Brand New transition to Deja Entendu, and those comparisons are legit. I still prefer the old style of Facing New York, however, after repeated listenings, I have developed a new appreciation for the more dramatic, emotional style of Facing New York. It’s also great that there are still rock songs on the record, some of them better than anything they’ve ever released. “Full Turn” is a fantastic single, taking full advantage of Facing New York’s great vocals and addictive style of pop-prog. “Flagstaff” is quite possibly the strongest song ever written by this young band, as the infectious chorus proclaims “All we wanted was, all we needed was, in their hands…” By the end of this record, that’s one line that will never leave your head – guaranteed.
Don’t expect the usual from Facing New York. I can never fault a band for evolving, but the fact remains that they are more entertaining when they are fast. Still, the old style wouldn’t have worked well for an entire full-length. While that doesn’t change the fact that this CD is a letdown, it’s completely understandable. Fans of pop-rock, progressive, etc, will really dig this album. Facing New York deserves a lot more attention than they currently get, so check out this record and give them a shot.