Face To Face - Econo Live [10-inch] (Cover Artwork)

Face To Face

Econo Live [10-inch] (1996)


Before the Internet was widely available, anyone who purchased punk rock albums in the 1990's remembers the little black and white paper catalog inserts that would be crammed inside jewel cases in order to alert you of an upcoming release or to catch up on whatever record label's back catalog. If you ever bought a release by Face To Face or pretty much any band associated with Vagrant Records, the little piece of paper would prominently feature the Econo Live 10" EP by Face To Face as a must have item. However, this release was a onetime only pressing and never received any rerelease treatments, so by the time that little piece of paper fell out of the jewel case and onto your floor, the chance of actually owning this record was finished. As a longtime fan of the band, I decided to hit up eBay a few years ago and shell out what probably would have been at least triple the original cost for a copy of the record, plus shipping, so I could finally own this rarity to play on my new turntable.

Face To Face play meat and potatoes punk rock. The riffs are heavy, the beats are fast, and most songs stay under the 3—minute mark. The Econo Live release captures the band out on the road playing a few club shows before heading into the studio to record what would be their third album, a self—titled effort in 1996. Some people dislike live releases; poor sound quality and on—stage banter that doesn't make sense if you weren't there are often cited as reasons by some, but I think live releases are usually either a hit or miss and I say that Econo Live is a hit, albeit a short hit with only six songs making the cut. "It's Not Over", "Put You In Your Place" and "Nothing New" make up side one with "I'm Trying", "Handout" and "Pastel" completing side two of the record. The songs are played fast, tight and with a real sense of urgency that is translated to the listener with what I consider to be above average, but far from perfect, sound quality. The crowd participation parts have been captured nicely with front man Trever Keith often invoking a call—and—response tactic when appropriate. However, given that I'm writing this review 18 years after its release, I think that the Econo Live EP will fall short with the casual Face To Face fan because of the band's near perfect Live album that followed in 1998 with three of these same six songs appearing again on a more professional recording.

Rare releases can bring a certain feeling excitement to diehard fans of a band. Any diehard fan of Face To Face would be smitten with a copy of Econo Live, but given its status as a lost gem, getting your hands on one may be more trouble than it's worth for the casual listener.