Face To Face/Dropkick Murphys - Split CD (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Face To Face / Dropkick Murphys

Split CD (2002)


There's been a lot of split CDs coming out lately. Some labels are just doing one here and there. Some are turning it into a series of releases trying to document the "scene." BYO is on their third, and Jade Tree is right behind them. Vagrant Records, not to be left out, is jumping right in the mix. Their first volume between the Anniversary and Superdrag is nothing short of spectacular. The first band completely reinvented themselves and the second band kept doing what they did best: rock. How does the second volume stack up?

Face To Face represents the Vagrant stable here with one original, one Dropkick Murphys cover, and one Stiff Little Fingers cover. The original, "Fight Or Flight," is your typical Face To Face -- anthematic with every passing second. the only thing is it gets a bit boring, as lately it seems like F2F is trying to make every song anthematic. Maybe it's just me. "Road Of The Righteous" is a cover of the Dropkick Murphys song, and it sounds passable, but there's nothing special about it. The SLF cover is pretty standard, too. Trever does do an amazing job of turning his voice into a perfect imitation of Social Distortion's Mike Ness on this track, however.

The Dropkick Murphys fire back with a Pogues-ish tale called "The Dirty Glass." The more I listen to this song the more it grows on me. With guest vocals from Kay Hanley, the track really shines. Following this is the band's cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic "Fortunate Son." I love this song, and DKM's straightforward version does it justice. I always thought that CCR had a bit of punk rock in them [John Fogerty is a crazy old man anyways], so the song definitely works. The last track on the EP is a cover of "21 Guitar Salute" by the Press. I've never heard of the Press, so I can't compare the two, but the song seems a bit flat to me. It doesn't like the band was too inspired to record it. I mean, it sounds okay, but there's just something missing.

My biggest complaint about the whole release is the over-production, especially on the F2F tracks. There is so much echo and reverb [on Trever's voice especially] it's ridiculous. The Dropkick tracks are pretty loud, too; Bad Religion's "New America" is in my CD changer after this disc and it sounds like it's a demo from a garage band.

I keep getting this nagging feeling like the only reason Vagrant put this out is to try and re-earn some "punk rock cred" due to the glut of emo-pop bands seemingly taking over their label. Frankly, I don't mind the emo-pop as long as they put out awesome split CDs [like volume 1, which isn't really even emo-pop]. But when you put uninspired punk rock out, you're not going to win anyone over. Hopefully volume 3 can bounce back from this temporary rut the series has found itself in.

Face To Face - Road Of The Righteous
Real Audio
Dropkick Murphys - the Dirty Glass