How to Ruin Everything is Face to Face's reflection piece. The bandmembers take a look back on what made them love punk rock in the first place and churn it into an infectious disposition. They spent the 1990s fighting against the mainstream and through various personal and professional shifts inside the band, and How to Ruin Everything emerges as Face to Face's strongest material to date. Frontman Trever Keith is fierce, and his songwriting is now shaped into something courageous and meaningful. He and bandmates bassist Scott Shiflett and drummer Pete Parada ignore current punk-pop sounds for a gnarling rock growl.
Malia's vocal style is one that's powerful, jazzy, classy, and daring from a musical perspective. The different tracks on the album showcase her willingness to experiment with big-band, jazz, hip-hop, soul, and international sounds. A couple of tracks that stand out are the up-beat "Lifting you high," her sensual and seductive "India Song," and her rendition of "solitude." It is quite a shame that this artist will (probably) never see her album being released in the uS, as her style doesn't "fit" the mold of the American urban and R&B stations. It is too classy to be noticed by fans of simple stuff like Ashanti or Mariah Carey.
A more literal return to form, Blood Like Lemonade builds on the familiar downtempo grooves that filled Morcheeba's 2008 effort Dive Deep, but this time with original vocalist Skye Edwards back in the fray. Right from the opening dusty, minor-keyboard chord, the album is instantly identifiable for fans as stony, late-night grooves combine with melodies that are both pop-minded and soul-spirited. All the organic elements that sit on top of the slow, rolling drum machines are back, as is the sinister underbelly of their early material, although here it's amped up a touch. The title track references “drinking blood like lemonade,” while “Recipe for Disaster” begins “Wanna know why there's a dead guy in my dining room” before unveiling a story that's somewhere between the Jesse James legend and Natural Born Killers. The sweet tricks are Edwards using her velvet voice to make it all sound delicious, along with her ability to be equally effective on the breezy, positive numbers like “I Am the Spring.” Add “Crimson,” which would be the quintessential Morcheeba song if “Rome Wasn't Built in a Day” didn't exist, and Blood Like Lemonade exceeds expectations, coming in a close second behind fan favorite Big Calm.
This is the debut recording from one of Germany's most accomplished progressive rock bands. The band was originally co-led by vocalist Erich Schriever and guitarist Frank Bornemann, and the two differed on musical direction, which is evident here…
While many mainstream punk bands put up an image that they exist outside the system of corporate rock, Face to Face proved when putting together Reactionary that they are, in fact, just as keyed into the marketing process as the boy bands. According to the liner notes, 16 tracks were posted on the Internet and fans voted for the best songs, 12 of which appear on this album. Kind of like a year 2000 equivalent of the Pizza Parlor Jury. The songs are rather typical hardcore punk, certainly not ranking up with the band's best material.
Punk revivalism may incite a brash attitude and a sour disposition, but there is also a soft spot. It's not always about angst and rebellion. There's a passionate side too. SoCal punkers Face to Face tone down their skate punk snarl for an intriguing set of covers on Standards and Practices, kissing the hands of those '80s new wave/indie rock/punk bands that came before them. The band picked their own favorite tunes, paying tribute to bands such as the Smiths, the Pogues, Jawbreaker, the Ramones, and the Pixies. Standards and Practices is raw and vibrant, and the underlying power behind their own versions also exudes the excitement found in the original songs and escapes the repetitiveness found on most compilations.