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Face to Face | Laugh Now, Laugh Later

Antagonist (2011)
By REYAN ALI  |  May 25, 2011
2.0 2.0 Stars

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Putting 1999's Ignorance Is Bliss aside, Face to Face still sounds the way they always have. As their first record since rebounding from a break-up in the early '00s, Laugh Now, Laugh Later shows the Californian skate-punk band doggedly sticking to the palette they cultivated decades ago. Heard one FTF song and you have a feel for 'em all: accessible melodies, regular verse-chorus-verse structures, brisk-but-never-too-brisk speeds, Trever Keith spouting missives directed toward an anonymous "you," and clean production, plus or minus some gang chants. It's a formula nowhere near idiosyncratic — Pennywise, Lagwagon, and other SoCal punk bands associated with the '90s all worked with similar ideas. But when Face to Face were really on, as with 2002's "Shoot the Moon," they were dynamite, condensing an existential quandary into three minutes of earnest punk. Laugh Now contains no such stand-outs. Hooks are competent and decent but never demanding enough for you to race out to get a song's lyrics embedded into your skin. Speaking of which, Keith's become a frustratingly broad and passive-aggressive writer, to the point where any FTF track can be about pretty much anybody or anything. Making your experiences relatable to strangers is one thing, endless vagueness is another. Barring rare glimmers of innovation, like the nifty surf-rock riff in "Under the Wreckage," Laugh Now is negligible.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, New Music, punk,  More more >
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