Similiarities and differences.
I was never a big fan of Bad Religion. Before this year, I only owned one album [Stranger Than Fiction] and it mostly just sat on my shelf. I just never really got into the band.
I was never a big fan of Face To Face. I've never owned a single album of theirs, and while my old band did cover "Handout" a few times, I just never really got into the band.
One of the biggest stories in punk rock in the past year was the return of Bad Religion to an indie label [Epitaph] after a failed stint on a major resulting in depressingly worse successive albums. Legions of BR fans everywhere heralded the move as a "rebirth" of the band, and looked forward to hearing what the re-energized band could do.
Another of the biggest stories in punk rock in the past year was the return of Face To Face to an indie label [Vagrant] after a failed stint on a major label resulting in depressingly worse successive albums. Hordes of F2F fans everywhere heralded the move as a "rebirth" of the band, and looked forward to hearing what the re-energized band could do.
Being in my position of power, I am given an advance copy of the new Bad Religion album. While I had never really cared about the band in the past, I figured I'd give it a shot.
Again, being in my position of power, I am given an advance copy of the new Face To Face album. While I had never really cared about the band in the past, I figured I'd give it a shot.
Here are where the similarities stop.
The new Bad Religion CD was more than a return to form for the band - it was like a phoenix rising from the ashes of their major label mediocracy. Bad Religion was dead; long live Bad Religion.
The new Face To Face CD is nothing more than boring, boring SoCal punk. So many bands credit this band as an influence; I'm baffled on how people could be inspired by music this mediocre. Of course, I'm not too familiar with the entire recording history of the band, so maybe their older stuff is good. This, on the other hand, is just as generic as a "genre defining" band could get. Yeah, there are some good songs - "Waiting to be Saved," "Shoot The Moon," "Graded on a Curve," and "The World In Front Of You" are standouts to my ears, but the rest of them blend together more evenly than a strawberry-banana smoothie. This is the "triumphant return" that fans have waited for?
To add insult to injury, the band includes "Fight or Flight" on the album - this is the exact same version that appeared on their split CD with the Dropkick Murphys only two months earlier. I liked the song before, but including it on another release? Bad form, boys. Speaking of the split CD, it's obvious that those tracks were recorded the same time as this album because the overproduction is consistent. The album is just too arena rock, guys - tone this shit down.
The album takes a half dozen tracks to hit it's stride, and the stride sounds pretty good, but then they lose pace only a few songs later before stumbling to the finish line. By the time the last track rolls around, you're not even paying attention anymore. The album ends and you forgot that you even were playing it.
Bill of Goods
A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
Fight or Flight
The New Way [live on Carson Daly]