Eddie Reyes was right
Facing New York are endorsed by Taking By Sunday, that's right kids, roll on up. But wait, they're not emo-post whatever core, these guys sum themselves up as wanting to make music for all the twentysomethings out there who are trying to find themselves, and to a large extent with this CD they succeed. The lyrics are distinctly emo tinged, but somewhere between Genesis, Cursive and The Beatles they've found their niche, to a rather beautiful effect. To start the CD we have 'We Are', an epic track that sounds like it could be the score to a sweeping grand film, which leads into the Taking Back Sunday-esque 'Javelina', with spat out lyrics intertwined around a prickly electric piano and scattered dropkick drumming. Singer Eric Frederick has an entirely beautiful voice that stretches all around the thrown together instrumental pieces that back him, this song is highly cohesive whilst being all over the place, an effect most likely drawn by the fact the album was recorded all in one room all at once to capture that live electric atmosphere.
'Cutting My Hair' plays very much on the fact that every musician in this band is so incredibly talented it can at times sound like they're all playing different songs, but they're just so good it works, once more Frederick conveys emotion through his vocals concisely; it all comes together in a jazzy, eighties soft rock collective song. There's no doubting this band have got it together, every chord though may seem odd at times, is meticulously placed and planned so that they work perfectly. The end result is stunning, I'm utterly mesmerised by this band by track three. They're not a band that can be defined into a genre at all, as track four 'Full Turn' only continues to prove, sprinklings of piano playing in contrast to the vocals that refuse to be manipulated by the stunning crashes of the drums and reinforcement of guitars. None of these songs have distinctly catchy aspects, but they make me want to keep on listening to see how much more raw and intricacy woven they can become. They're like Mars Volta in the sense that they sound so unique and different, At The Drive In comes to mind, as well as a more upbeat Radiohead mixed with The Postal Service.
'Apple Sugar Cider' is the first song on the CD I can label a ballad, but they don't sound pathetic or weepy, but through this change in pace they maintain that distinct undescribable sound they bring to each song, these big broad chords that capture the feeling in each song, from quiet to loud. 'Flagstaff' sounds like a house or dance track to start off, then the eccentric guitar playing descends; the vocals are impeccable, reminding me of those on early Saves The Day records. This song is like a dream sequence that just keeps getting better and more complicated, but never to the point of being claustrophobic. I become more and more convinced with each track that this band would be incredible live, the lyrics are so poignant and relevant to any twenty something, it's incredible the accuracy that this band manages to capture in their music on every level.
'Tip Of The Iceberg' is a haunting ballad, vocals starting stretched painfully across bare and stark guitars, baroque in tone, this is no Dashboard Confessional, the emotion here is real and is captured perfectly in Fredericks' voice and lyrics. Strings added in part in the background not only highlight the vocals but accent the eventual piano appearances further on in the song. 'Styrofoam Walls' is a fun, fast-paced, hazy song, that has elements of jazz, pop, salsa, rock, prog, dance all present; it's captivating, once again bringing to mind Mars Volta, not the strongest of the tracks on the album, as the instruments almost drown out the vocals, but good none the less. 'Fly On The Wall' is more Fugazi influenced in dynamic, it's more catchy and pop oriented than most of the rest of the record, at the same time soaring vocals and frantic drumming make this a very cohesive listen. 'Butterfly Clock' is almost entirely instrumental, the perfect way for this dynamic, excellent record to end, showing off for the last time all the influences shown throughout the record, from prog to emo to pop to jazz and post punk.
New York is a melting pot for so many different styles, cultures and influences that all can be found in Facing New Yorks' music, this is an altogether stunning record, and live this would be incredible. I have no doubt in my mind that if you're not listening to Facing New York right now, you really are missing out on one of the most interesting and invigorating bands out there right now.