Face to Face - Three Chords and a Half Truth (Cover Artwork)

Face to Face

Face to Face: Three Chords and a Half TruthThree Chords and a Half Truth (2013)
Rise Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
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The first time Face to Face really fucked with their formula was with 1999's Ignorance is Bliss, an alternative-minded record that buried the band's pop punk roots in layers of guitar noise (it's basically their Dear You). It also alienated a fan base that hated change (kind of likeâ?¦Dear You). That record aside, the band have stuck to a pretty solid template: rapid fire drums, absurdly great basslines, huge choruses. While their records have at times played with heaviness (How to Ruin Everything) and hooks (Face to Face), the band's output, while totally fun, has stayed consistent in sound. Indeed, core members Trever Keith and Scott Shiflett weren't able to really explore other styles until they broke up Face to Face and participated in acts like Viva Death, Legion of Doom and Real Space Noise.

Face to Face's new album, Three Chords and a Half Truth, doesn't shake things up quite like Ignorance is Bliss. It's not that daring. But it still finds the group changing styles, going from punk rock to more traditional rock. In other words, these songs are so, so much slower than anything on Don't Turn Away.

For a while, that's not even much of an issue. The record starts off with the two-hit combo of "123 Drop" and "Welcome Back to Nothing," two rabble rousers in the tradition of Social Distortion and the Who. These songs will probably sound out of place with Face to Face's faster material live, but they still rock. Except then a couple of forgettable Reactionary throwbacks pass the time before "Bright Lights Go Down" presents something resembling a sturdy chorus (however cliché-ridden). Only problem is that "Right as Rain" is track six, meaning we're halfway through the album and things aren't looking good.

The back half pretty much sounds like the first half. Keith is shooting for inspirational rockers (and nearly gets them on the catchy "Flat Back" and "Jinxproof"), but the songs are ultimately too homogenous. Some, like "Marked Men," don't really end so much as peter out, as if the record was a few revisions away from greatness. While it's commendable to hear Face to Face attempt something new, one has to wonder why bother. These songs do not gel with their previous output. They've already established other bands for exploring other sounds. Three Chords is decent, but I'm not sure who these songs are for.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
landmines (May 13, 2013)

Definitely the worst F2F album ever. The whole album just seems flat. This is the first time I have not liked a F2F album. I don't know what they were thinking making this record. It's just pointless.

wahhey (May 3, 2013)

but no, and i don't even know who kitty wells is

wahhey (May 3, 2013)

hey douchecunt, did kitty wells turn the song into a three power chord punk song. Gee golly!

chutley (May 2, 2013)


paulrulzdood (May 2, 2013)

final point; tracks 8-11 could be the weakest stretch of any F2F album

paulrulzdood (May 2, 2013)

and just to add a bit more, yea, where are Scott's kickass basslines? and there's not a single double-time skate-punk track on here.

really aside from the first 3 tracks and the album closer, there's nothing good here, and nothing worthy of making their setlist other than maybe the opening track could be cool live.

paulrulzdood (May 2, 2013)

agree with the review 100%. last paragraph says it all. it's slightly experimental, but at this point, what's the use? Do F2F fans really desire a new sound from them at this point? I don't think we do. I think we were stoked on their "back to basics" comeback album "laugh now, laugh later", which was a solid and classic-sounding F2F album. This one is slightly experimental but boring in its execution.

I agree it starts good...tracks 1 and 2 are different but well executed.

but then it starts to meander..."bright lights" is filler, "first step" peters out and sounds like a half-assed Clash song, "right as rain" sounds too much like Social D's "making believe", and the 2nd half of the album is almost all filler and forgettable, although the closing track is pretty good.

overall; 'meh'. I like the quick turnaround time of under 2 years between albums, but maybe a little more time and revision and focus with a real producer would have been in order for a more quality end result. They should have gone to the blasting room and allowed for some critical feedback on these songs and tightened them up, as I do feel this could have been a good album with some more focus and punch.


Rob-o (May 2, 2013)

Going against the grain here ─ I think this record is great. "I'll be the one you love to hate" I guess was preemptive...

"Smokestacks and Skyscrapers" is one of the better songs I've heard in a long time.

oldpunkerforever (May 1, 2013)

biggest let down of the year-oldpunker-

Nate81 (May 1, 2013)

Let me start by saying I'm a huge F2F fan. But this album sounds like Social Distortion does christian rock. And where is Scott Shifflett on this album? Is it just me, or does everyone who moves to Rise records puts out their shittiest album? Hot Water, F2F, Make Do and Mend, Bouncing Souls, etc....

facetofacereunion08 (May 1, 2013)

Don't love it and I love their whole discography. I think "How to Ruin Everything:" is super underrated, classic album front to back. This album I just can't get totally into. Not bad, not great.

twstdbydsn (May 1, 2013)

I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. Strangely enough, I do love Ignorance is Bliss and the first record. This is the first record by them I was slightly disappointed in since How To Ruin Everything, and even that grew on me over the years.

thenewpope (May 1, 2013)

hey Wahhey, um, you do know that "making believe" was written 60 years ago and made famous by Kitty Wells, not Social Distortion, right? Contrary to popular belief, Mike Ness didn't write "Ring Of Fire" either. Jeez louise.

BrainTrust (May 1, 2013)

As a huge F2F Fan, I gotta admit I´m pretty disappointed. Listened to it several times and tried to get into it, but it just doesn´t happen. Bummer.

wahhey (May 1, 2013)

also 'right as rain' is basically a cover of 'Making Believe' by Socal Distortion with different lyrics.

wahhey (May 1, 2013)

I found this record to be incredibly catchy, yet somehow boring.. but for everyone that's so upset about the change in sound here, don't forget they gave you Laugh Now, Laugh Later in 2011 - that was your throwback record, now why don't we let them do what THEY want just 1 more time.

Scruffy (May 1, 2013)

"But if you enjoyed "How to Ruin Everything" and "Standards and Practices" you'll enjoy this."

I didn't like HTRE, but I also don't really love anything before Big Choice. The self-titled is one of the best albums ever written, IIB is a fucking fantastic album. S&P, Reactionary and their last one are all good.

I did not enjoy this. That is not to say it's bad. It's just a totally different band. As different as IIB was, it was still very much the same band, but this feels like the way they approach music has changed fundamentally, and not just in tempo and guitar tone (like IIB). I'm not the best judge of it, because it's not exactly my thing, but this is different enough I think it should have been released as a new band.

levidolphin (May 1, 2013)

horrible and disappointing.

Tbrow (April 30, 2013)

I found the new album drab and boring... And with that out of the way, I would like to say I extremely disagree with the Ignorance Is Bliss comment! Yes Ignorance is Bliss was an extream radical shift from everything they've done, but musically and lyrically it is amazing, I honestly think that album is fucking awesome. I love their other albums but I love that album as well. Maybe Next Time is one of my favoruite Face to Face songs.

1776 (April 30, 2013)

The "Over It" ep is both their best work and shockingly hard to find.

thenewpope (April 30, 2013)

This band perfected melodic skate punk, but they're still WAY off on the mid tempo anthem rock. None of this album works for me. It sounds forced and lifeless and I could see it completely neglected in their live set(save maybe one song). Just not good

HeinTerweduwe (April 30, 2013)

Very good review and I totally agree. Count me in on the bunch of people that only loved their first releases... this is an album that ain't crap, but I'm sure I won't be listening to it very often from here on. And you know... I'm a HUGE fan of their early work, so a very disappointed man. Sorry, I gave it a few tries now, still no connection here.

conebone69 (April 30, 2013)

I've enjoyed the entire discography of Face to Face. Even some songs off Trever Keith's solo album weren't bad.

But this is garbage.

telegraphrocks (April 30, 2013)

Pretty disappointing. Sounded like a band trying to cover Face To Face.

ak3punk (April 30, 2013)

There are two types of Face to Face fans. There are the fans who love the first three albums and hate everything else. Then there are the other fans who enjoy their whole discography. If you are a "first three albums" fan, this probably isn't for you. But if you enjoyed "How to Ruin Everything" and "Standards and Practices" you'll enjoy this.

"Laugh Now Laugh Later" was an album that was a total throwback album that channelled the energy and punk side perfectly like their early material. This album doesn't exactly pick up where the last one left off, but does move their sound in a more rocky direction. There is a lot to enjoy on this album even though it is different.

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