Thursday 28 February 2013

The Pale Faces - Gee Baby, I'm Mighty Blue For You

Album review by

This trio have been together for less than a year and are already offering up this mini-album of ragged, rickety garage/blues tunes, so no time has been wasted and as you'd expect this means that any imperfections have been left just as they are. This is a technique that works wonders for some bands and makes others sound totally inept. For Leicester's The Pale Faces? It sounds exactly as they were meant to be. We're talking DIY pop music that's bristling with personality and lo-fi aesthetics. Whether they're to remain as ramshackle and brittle as this on future releases or are planning to evolve into something more commercial time will tell.

The very first sound you hear is distortion, they make no attempt to hide behind anything; noise-pop is where they're at and where they want to be. 'Ocean Wide' is a sludgy take on blues as reimagined by a proto-grunge group. It's like playing a Cramps 45 at 33rpm instead. Dark and prowling. As is common with bands of this ilk, a love of 60s pop, in particular the wall of sound and girl groups, is clearly apparent on 'No More Kisses'. You can stick this one in a box with some early Dum Dum Girls demos and it wouldn't be out of place. The slightly discordant organ pierces your ears but is actually beneficial to the song. The same organ continues on to the muffled 'Any Day Now' which sounds like it has a pack of zombies on vocals.

It's always tempting to imagine these songs given the full production treatment and see if it improves them or strips the character away. There's the odd surprise. 'The First To Go' contains electronics in some form or other (it's difficult to tell amongst the din) and sounds not unlike another song, but which one we can't quite pinpoint. 'This Cannot Be The End' barely contains a tune, just a rumbling bass and some distant cries, and 'Torture' is similar but a faint vocal melody lifts it a touch along with what's not far off medieval chanting. That organ pierces your eardrums again on 'Here Comes My Man', a song that sounds like a doo-wop tune caked in a layer of mud. Then finally 'The Fate Of Isabel' is yet more of the same beautiful sludge and unusual, distant vocals. Mother's Day is on the way. This would be the ideal gift for the in-laws that you can't stand.

The Pale Faces' website

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