This was a band I discovered when I was going through my Pop-Punk compilations looking for new fresh bands because I was getting sick of what I had. This band was probably the best band I found in all my searching. Initially I only found their EP, and that was disappointing, as I discovered them after the band had already disbanded. But after a lot of searching I found this album and immediately picked it up. Since the purchase I've listened to it about 10 times, which in my rotations is a huge amount.
I still worry I haven't given this album enough listens to properly do it justice either. It's a very dense recording and has a lot to digest in it. It also is one of the better albums I've heard that just creates a mood with the music. The whole album has a sense of emotion to it that not many bands today can pull off well.
I also struggled with what rating I should give this album, it is a fantastic album, but I'm not sure it's a 4.5. Nor is it a 4. It's somewhere in the middle, but I think it's closer to a 4.5 than a 4, so in the end that's the rating I went with. I have a track by track and then overall plus/minus analysis.
Track by track:
Permanent Solution: What an opening track. It starts off with no introduction, from the first second there are lead guitar lines over pulsing drums and a strong but almost off beat rhythm. Then within 30 seconds it all cuts out and there is only a faint bit of guitar. Then it comes back in with the vocals. The song is all over the place, but not in a disorienting way, more in a refreshing blast of diversity sort of way.
Vanity: By contrast this song feels a lot softer, both being slower and less driven than Permanent Solution. The vocals really drive this song to the next level, there is so much power in them that the song relies almost entirely on them alone to build up. One of the weaker songs on the album overall though.
Game Over: This drops even softer and seems to almost have an Indie influence at the introduction, though that feel is lost at times. The mix on this song is nearly perfect, so that the vocals and the guitars harmonize in just the right way without either overpowering the other. It also alternates between hard and soft sections wonderfully.
For You I'll Be Forgetting Me: Very short sound clip at the beginning, then it comes in with some lighter picking patterns, and then building into a hard section. This band really works well with dynamics, and the bassist is key in this mastery. He really knows when to cut out, play a single note, or go crazy, just to get the feel of the song right. The ending of this song is also great and showcases the control and cohesion the band has.
Disappear: The album starts picking up again here. The drums really drive this song, and without them the song might be mistaken at parts to be a light song, but it isn't in anyway. There is also a bit of screaming at parts, though nothing too intense. The whole time there's a strong sense of speed behind the song, despite the laidback vocals and guitar work, which makes it one of the more incredible songs on the album in my opinion.
The Train: Beautiful intro, great guitar work accenuated by distorted vocals. This song also is a great example of how the band uses more "secondary" instruments to build the piece rather than relying as much on guitar or vocals to lead the song dynamics.
Wardrobe: This is one of the few songs that really is slow and laid back for a good portion of the song. Most of their songs shift dynamically every 30 seconds to a minute. This one builds slowly over a 2 minute period, then drops back into a laid back section again and builds up slowly again for another 2 minutes. It's a refreshing shift from their more periodic song formulas at this point in the album.
The End: There is the sound of a film projector at the intro, and the really weird thing is it's there throughout the song (except during the breaks), though just barely decipherable. The vocals really make this song. He shows off an incredible breadth and power in his voice and incredible control over it to drive the song. The jumps from a tap on the ride cymbal to singing his heart out over driving guitars are chilling. There is also some nice vocal harmony at the end of the song.
Away From You: This works in contrast to most of their songs, starting hard, then falling back before coming in strong. The chorus is really great and another strong point. One of those songs you'd love to see at a show because it breaks into the chorus just right so you could really jump around.
My Day: Longest track on the album by just under a minute. Pretty different from the preceding tracks and breaks up the feel that has been established by them. I'm not sure if it's a refreshing break, or disappointing loss of control. Luckily it reestablishes the feel of the album by the middle of the song.
Till We Have Faces: Title track for good reason, this and the last track are some of the greatest songs on the album. It opens acoustically, which is a total break from anything else on the album, then after the verse there is a quick bit with some electric guitar work before totally driving into the song. It's a slow song, but not a mellow one. The line coming into the chorus (just the name of the song) is amazingly powerful, it just has some indescribable effect to it. Fades out well into the last song.
A Way to the Heart: Piano was present on a few songs previously, but never prevalent. Except in this song. It's beautiful, I'm always a sucker for piano, but this really is exceptional in my opinion. The only instruments here are piano and vocals, and you'll either love it or hate it. Still a strong sense of musicianship on this song that keeps you into the music, and possibly the best track on the album.
1. If you can connect to the mood this album portrays, you will love this album.
2. The musicianship is very strong here, unlike a stereotypical Pop-Punk band this band really showcases their talents and this isn't the sort of thing the average musician could learn how to play overnight.
3. The band has one of the best controls of dynamics I've ever heard, they're very tight and very well thought out. Every instrument contributes to it too.
1. Like many Pop-Punk albums this one suffers from being a bit formulaic.
2. They showcase what they're good at, but do so on every song so that it can become trite and less amazing because they overdo it.
3. The band has already broken up.