Facing New York - Get Hot (Cover Artwork)

Facing New York

Get Hot (2008)

Five One Inc.

Cops on bikes, in them little shorts. How you gonna bust me in them little shorts?"
The opening lines of this record are a pretty good indication of what you're getting into with Facing New York's second album, Get Hot. This recently downsized three-piece visits just about every genre in popular music during these 11 tracks, hitting many peaks with impressive playing but is sometimes hampered by strange attempts at being "hip."

The musicianship on this release stands out like little I've heard in the past few years. I especially enjoy the bass and drum interaction and the warm keyboard sounds, which are enhanced by the honest and full production style. Musically, it is most reminiscent of an updated Steely Dan (check out "Hardwood Floors" for a clear Dan influence) by way of the Dismemberment Plan being fronted by Beck with a slightly better voice. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Eric Frederic is pitch-perfect and always interesting as he lays out stories of adult disenchantment. He is sometimes funny like in the aforementioned "Cops on Bikes," but also occasionally awkward like in "Me N My Friendz":
I'm screwing college freshman and desperate housewives, could it be I'm suck dead center between my teens and my thirties? Envisioning how my children would look if I had ‘em with the woman in the checkout line in front of me. Maybe they'd look like my last girlfriend."
While I think Frederic is a great singer I do get annoyed with his `90s cool guy delivery, reminding me of a less abstract M. Doughty of Soul Coughing. He drops all the "g"s from words ending in "ing," pronounces "them" as "'em," etc. He's just too hip for me.

Vocal delivery beef aside, half of this record is awesome. They smartly front-load it with tunes that kick out a variety of grooves with a ton of key changes and sophisticated musical tricks. The second half is very much the same, instead those same ingredients aren't meshed as well and lead to a generally uncomfortable listening experience as in the dissonant-laden "Man Up."

In conclusion, this is a highly impressive and enjoyable release; I just don't see listening to it very often. If you are into smart avant-garde music with a funky vibe then you might be into this. I'm probably going to give it to my dad.