During the 1990s, Face to Face was everything that SoCal punk rock could be. Over It and Big Choice were the absolute embodiment of everything mid-`90s skatepunk strived for: catchy, energetic songs with plenty of drive and rhythm. Singer Trevor Keith’s voice is as unmistakable as the band's most well known song, “Disconnected,” and after playing their last show in 2004, this is just as the album title suggests: the essential collection.
Spanning 21 of the band's best songs during their 14-year career, Shoot the Moon: The Essential Collection takes a little bit of the best from each of the Face to Face albums and throws them all together while managing to concentrate the majority of music where most Face to Face fans would want it: their albums of the 1990s. Those are the albums that were universally loved, that spawned such great songs as “It’s Not Over,” “You’ve Done Nothing” and “Velocity.”
Keith’s honest and thoughtful words hold as much weight as ever, and his voice sounds just as anthemic and just as engaging as it did back when you first heard the band. Their skatepunk sound is one that just gets better and better every time you listen; the tight but powerful rhythms, the gritty vocals, thumping bass, it’s here in all its former glory. Unsurprisingly, “Disconnected” starts the album off, proving that it’s really a song that’s stood the test of time. That thick bass and memorable chorus will never truly be erased from anyone’s memory, and as soon as you hear the first 10 seconds, you’ll remember just why you loved this band in the first place. Keeping the momentum strong are the speedy, hard-edged riffs in “Don’t Turn Away” and the blistering rhythms, quickly delivered vocals, and shouting background gang vocals of “It’s Not Over.”
Farther into the album is where they integrate the tracks from the less well received How to Ruin Everything, and while the songs do sound decidedly different, they still retain a lot of that same spirit that Face to Face always had. While nowhere near as memorable as those skatepunk classics, what was selected isn’t as bad as many make it out to be. Another nice inclusion from the band are three live tracks, “Walk the Walk,” “Thick as a Brick,” and “Disconnected.”
Fitting that the live version of “Disconnected” finishes this retrospective just as it started, more fitting that it was the final song recorded from their final live performance, in their home of Southern California. The amount of energy and conviction put into this song is only challenged by the energy and conviction of every single kid in the audience that night singing along to "you, you don’t know what would you would give up, you, you don’t know what you would give up, it may take you years to find out." It’s the kind of thing that hearing it only makes you wish even more you were in that audience, and that you were one of those lucky kids screaming every word to one of the best punk songs of the `90s.
A common complaint this day and age is that punk rock has lost its spirit. It’s around only for the sake of being punk music, not because the musicians have a passion for it. If you’re one of the people who find that to be true, buy this album, listen to this album, and remember what it was like when you first really heard the music.