Album Review: Stonerism
Young Chicago band Strange Faces has produced a debut album, Stonerism, that draped a thin plastic sheet over my eyes, a lo-fi filter through which I saw their garage-punk world. The four-person band started as a solo 2013 project from guitarist and vocalist David Miller. Knowing Taylor Walters, the band’s guitarist, since high school, they’ve been working together since mid 2013, but It wasn’t until 2014 that the two of them met the drummer, Ben Leach and the band really came together. Mixed and mastered by Cadien James, guitarist and vocalist of Twin Peaks, the album shows an extra layer of attitude.
Staying true to their guitar-rock, Strange Faces uses static distortion to their advantage to convey their energy and rebellious mood throughout each song. The guitars, vocals, drums, and bass (played by Phillip Vandes) all sit evenly in the mix. One clever attribute of the band was their creative approach in coating their vocals with a balance of fine distortion that blends harmoniously with the overall tone of each song.
It’s hard not to imagine yourself being carried away by the band’s energy and story. With songs such as “Skippin’ Town”, the band really captured the excitement of doing things your own way, allowing you to relive the rebellious phases of life through the song. Other songs such as “Long Time” effectively capture a nostalgic longing for someone, as the band effectively portrays a person’s inner struggles. One song worth the mention is, “Serenade”. It was one of the songs from a band called The Paranoids in Thomas Pynchon’s book Crying of Lot 49. Although the song was from a book, Strange Faces really added their own perspective and style into it and brought it to life.
There’s a certain charm with the band’s artistic decision in applying noise and distortion to their songs. giving the entire album a very cohesive journey. The individual stories in each song don’t rely heavily on the lyrics, instead the vocal’s sonic characteristics work with the instrumentation to provide a convincing story. The lo-fi sonic textures are near-tangible, lending the modern garage-rock band a sense of 60’s vintage and nostalgia.
Strange Faces’ Stonerism is out on 12/11 on Aquarium Drunkard. their entire album can be streamed on SoundCloud.
Stonerism Track Listing:
I Saw Your Face
Don’t Feel Bad
Such A Drag
Nothin’ To Prove
Brand New Way
Review by Kai-Yao Lan