Review Summary: Hostile Little Face has constructed a debut album that rises to the height of all expectations and delves low enough to draw on your deepest emotions
Architects are people who design beautiful buildings. Fuelled by their imaginations and emotions, they capture people’s attention and their designs often stand the test of time. Such a feat of creativity requires focus, determination and has to be as flawless as possible. So to title your debut album ‘The Architect’ seems rather ambitious, however it also shows confidence; for local Perth alternative rock outfit Hostile Little Face this ambitious confidence has certainly paid off.
“The Architect” opens with the intro ‘Deus Ex Machina’, which, like most intros, feels like a waste of time. The crashing symbols and crisp guitar introduce the musical style, but fail to grab your attention enough to warrant multiple listens. Solid kicks of the bass drum introduce ‘Superhero’ as the first song off the album which is quickly joined by guitar and bass that climbs frantically from high to low. Soft vocals soon enter and intensify as lead singer Mitchell Freind declares “I am not a superhero” which results in the catchiest lyric off the track. ‘Without You’ is the next track off the album and is where it starts to become apparent that this album just may be a diamond in the rough. Catchy well-written lyrics and hook laden verses make the verses catchier than the chorus itself. The lyrics are wrapped in infectious musicianship, angelic guitar picking and tempo shifts, which all help to make this song irresistible. The lead single ‘The Architect’ steps up to the plate next and combines everything good about the first two tracks, plus more. Bass driven verses and sways of country-esque guitar float through the speakers and lead into the albums first memorable chorus. The lyrics in the verses and pre chorus are all intelligently crafted, but the chorus “I’m crazy about you, but I’m not crazy” is the cleverest of all. The music seems minimal, yet heartfelt and vocal overlays in the bridge add a very emotional dynamic to this song.
Over the course of the next few songs a number of further styles and influences can be heard. It becomes clear that bands such as Incubus and Jimmy Eat World have influenced the way Hostile Little Face go about their business. ‘Chain Reaction’ churns things up a bit with punk influenced guitar and upbeat drumming, whilst ‘Steady My Arm’ begins with a guitar riff that sounds as though it has been pulled straight from the 90’s. The next few songs bring the album down to a chilled out section that uses plenty of acoustic guitar and soft, warm vocals. The track that rebuilds this album out of its softer side is ‘This Perfect Sin’ and although not necessarily more upbeat, it’s perhaps the best song on the album. Beautiful vocal harmonies and melodies cast over catchy, driven acoustic guitar make ‘This Perfect Sin’ resides with the listener for some time after the first listen. Electric guitar echoes over the top of the music before fading; this emphasises the vocals which deliver the thought provoking final lyric “...Religion what a flaw of modern man”. These intelligently written lyrics offer the listener a chance to delve further into what Hostile Little face is really trying to ignite. ‘Wait’ closes out “The Architect” with calculated guitar plucking, acoustic strumming and hints of piano to soften the mood. The song quickly gains some uplifting momentum and striking boldness from the deliverance of the lyrics “so let me go” over atmospheric music that sounds like fading off into a distant starry night.
Hostile Little Face has constructed a debut album that rises to the height of all expectations and delves low enough to draw on your deepest emotions. With a similar alternative rock sound influenced by the likes of Incubus, Hostile Little Face demonstrates that they know their cards and plays them well. Hostile Little Face have designed a record with enough character and heart to stand the inevitable test of time, but the challenge now is to get the rest of Australia to marvel in their feat!