Face To Face provokes memories, and it's just with looking at the DVD that comes as a bonus with this exclusive European Kung Fu release that I realize that I saw this band in 1993 or something touring with Lag Wagon over here in Belgium when both bands were still operating in the background. The reason of this release is the fact that there was never a distribution of their albums over here in Europe when they were signed to Victory Music (which is not Victory Records BTW) and A&M. I still wonder how I got my hands on them then?
Anyway, there's nothing new on the disc, but since nothing of their older stuff was reviewed here before, except for that cover-album 'Standards and Practices' I just felt the urge to write this down in short. It's not that much a review of the disc, but more like a brief look at their entire career.
They talk about their albums themselves on the DVD and I couldn't agree more with what they thought of their albums: the 'self-titled' is definitely their best album when you look at it as a whole: great songs at speed, top-production and catchy as fuck.
Nevertheless it's their debut album 'Don't Turn Away' (on Fat Wreck) that I will always carry in my heart, because it's my personal discovery of the band and it simply was the starting years of what I always have been calling my own punkrock-re-discovery, or call it melodic punkrock if you want.
'Big Choice', which was released in between these 2 albums was not bad, but I never really got into it. I don't know, there was just not enough of the self-titled in it yet and it didn't have the energy that came from their first album I guess.
To be honest I never bought the next 2 albums. It's one of the few times ever (this is serious people!) I downloaded mp3's and burned them, but I don't think I ever listened to 'Ignorance Is Bliss' more than twice. I don't know what got into them, but I still look at it as one of the biggest disappointments in my music-life. Boring, boring, boring. they must have been going through a phase where they thought they had to mature and bring change to their music, showing they were able to do more than strike a good 3 chorus song. And why did they have to include 4 songs on this album as well, although 2 of them at least show some pace.
'Reactionary' was a return to their older style but didn't convince me either. I suppose they lost some of my credits in that time. I feel I should give that one a thorough listen again, because the songs here prove that I could've been prejudiced.
Anyway, it was with their latest on Vagrant 'How To Ruin Everything' and their split with Dropkick Murphys in the BYO split-series that I embraced this band again. None of the songs on these releases are featured here though. They both show a return to their roots and that's definately everything this band has to keep on doing. Now get your asses back on stage over here.
The best part for me about this release was the DVD-disc that came with the release. The bandmembers guide you through their entire history, starting with their early days on Dr. Strange and is documented with recordings of their European trip and their legendary Punkfest appearance. There's also 4 video-clips on it. So any Face To Face fan should get this for sure.