When the early ’90s rolled around, a new breed of So-Cal punk bands emerged and picked up the rebel flag right where the So-Cal hardcore bands of the mid-’80s left it. At the forefront of this resurgence was none other than Face to Face, a young and wayward outfit hailing from the town of Victorville, California. Since their conception in 1991, Face to Face has released nine full length albums, toured the world, gone through various line-up changes and endured a four year-long hiatus. Nevertheless, despite their tumultuous history, the band has returned in 2013 with a (subtle?) bang by releasing their latest full length, Three Chords and a Half Truth.
To be entirely straightforward, TCAAHT is acutely mediocre. While the band distantly stays true to their punk roots, it’s a form of drudgery for one to recall anything worthy of remembrance once the final notes of the record ring out. Granted, while a few tracks are capable of holding their ground when compared to their somewhat lesser counterparts, Face to Face seem to have forgotten how to elaborate on the punk goldmine they unearthed with their previous, more reputable efforts.
After an unsatisfactory commencement (“123 Drop”), TCAAHT transitions into its aforementioned mediocre rut. Bland songwriting (“Paper Tigers With Teeth”), poor lyricism (“Flat Black”), and excessive lack of creativity (“Right As Rain”) unfortunately all plague Three Chords from being that So-Cal punk revival album we were all hoping for. That goes without mentioning a track such as “Jinxproof,” which is sure to make any die-hard F2F fan cringe with utter disappointment.
It’s extremely disheartening to see such immense potential wasted on an uninspired, lackluster, run-of-the-mill album. Vocalist and founding member Trever Keith shows very little of the innovation we have come to expect from his notable past resume. Almost everything that made Face to Face stand out from the vast amount of other punk acts around the world has been subdued drastically, making Three Chords nothing more than decent background music.
Overall, despite what seemed like a well-established move on Rise Records’ part, their efforts ultimately remain fruitless. Sure, TCAAHT isn’t the absolute worst punk album of all time (mainly due to “Bright Lights Go Down,” one of its few high points), but when compared to what we know F2F is capable of, it’s a definite letdown to say the least.
If brutal honesty is a part of punk rock and this is only half of the truth, maybe try telling the whole story next time boys.