Album Review: Face To Face – Hold Fast (Acoustic Sessions)

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In August 2018, Face to Face released this reworked retrospective (woah check out the alliteration there) which is somewhat speciously tagged as “Acoustic sessions”.  Sure, these versions may be unplugged and slowed down, but the first mournful twangs of steel guitar in opener All For Nothing (Laugh Now, Laugh Later, 2011) let us know this album is going to be more than Trevor Keith and an acoustic guitar.  We are treated to 10 tracks, spanning the bands impressive back catalogue, which have been re-imagined and given new life as Americana/country inflected jams.  Disconnected (Don’t Turn Away, 1992) starts with Keith solo acoustic before the rest of the band come in on the chorus with a really nice harmony and it’s a super chilled song.  Shame On Me (Reactionary, 2000) continues in the same vein and it’s great to hear some of the little fill-in riffs come to the forefront of the song where in the original they are less of a focus.  Keep Your Chin Up (Protection, 2016) starts with a jangly riff and settles into a rockabilly feel with the bass and percussion taking the lead during the verses.  Next are two songs from 1995’s Big Choice, Velocity and AOK.  The former starting with a melancholic Trevor Keith intro, building to a brighter almost euphoric chorus (“Never look down, never look down, just keep my focus straight ahead and try to walk this line”).  The latter has a touch of bluegrass going on in the instrumentation with more steel guitar and banjo-esque string picking –  it’s very cool.  Don’t Turn Away (Over It Ep, 1994) returns to the rockabilly vibe and next track, Blind (Face to Face, 1996), is more laid-back ala Shame On Me.  The album closes out with two relatively fast paced efforts for this release, Ordinary (Face to Face, 1996) and Bill Of Goods (How To Ruin Everything, 2002).

Face to Face are closing in on 30 years as a band, albeit with a few line-up changes and a few years of inactivity.  It’s heartening to see the attention and love that has been taken in creating this collection.  Interestingly, 8 out of 10 of these tunes are on their 2005 retrospective Shoot The Moon so they are obviously songs the band hold in high regard.  If you are an existing fan, this album will have you dusting off your old records (or whatever the digital equivalent is of that) and it is well worth checking out for old and new fans alike.

4.5/5 Stars


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