26 Jan 2021 - Thorsten
Okay, I admit it and you can throw me to the dogs for it, but I never liked Joy Division and I know I never will, because the hype, the cult, the (pseudo-)mystique around it makes up for expectations that can’t be fulfilled. Interestingly, that doesn’t mean that I cannot enjoy post-punk once in a while. Especially if it doesn’t try to sound like the-band-formerly-known-as-Warsaw, or Stiff Kittens, for that.
Future Faces from Geneva are somewhere between sounding like JD and not sounding like JD. Of course, the influences of the Mancunians can hardly be denied (as with nearly every post-punk band), but there are also some clear industrial and wave elements. The synth-spaces sometimes remind me of bands like Depeche Mode or Wolfsheim, while the beats can come across like Frontline Assembly or early Nine Inch Nails. But maybe the best and most recent comparison is Bambara whose Serafina was the album of the year for quite a lot of people in the dark chambers. The trio from the Lake Geneva-shoreline definitely incorporate some highly interesting changes in tempo, for example the second track “Enter Life”, a highly addictive upbeat-number, is followed by the slowly dragging but just as enchanting “Billion Years” which seems to have a beat that keeps dragging something behind itself that always keeps it from erupting. Nevertheless, even those slower songs on Euphoria always purvey that feeling of awesomeness, of a record you must listen to, of grandeur. Not to praise it too highly, but this could become one of those dark horses in some people’s collections that hardly no one knows about but that everybody cherishes from the moment they encounter it.
And there are several reasons for it, another one being the ability to incorporate the best of shoegaze, ambient and noise. When listen to the beginning of “Nation” that becomes more obvious than ever. The soft, melancholic spheres (by the synths) are very often chopped apart by some harsh noises and the bridge at the end is a very simple combination of minimal spaces and a very much hidden voice in the background. Both only come back to the front later but before that one has the feeling of seeing an invisible band leave the stage while still performing the very last tunes. The song sounds a bit like another soundtrack to Blade Runner with the harsh parts resembling rain and lightning and all finally resolving in a damp mist.
The vocals are part Paul Banks, part Ian Curtis and yet pretty distinctive as the singer is also crooning in certain moments. And, in contrast to the other two remarkable voices, he steps back more often and lets the music take over. Not saying that those singers always needed the spotlight (Curtis hated it), but they were/are so much part of the mystique of their band, that it is/was difficult position for both. Take them away from their bands, result: the bands are less than half as good – with Future Faces that is somewhat different: Here the music is the big player and the vocals are the little extra spice that makes existence extra nice.
The record was released on Throatruiner and at first thought, it doesn’t fit to a label that released stuff by Pyrrhon, Plebeian Grandstand and Birds in Row, but when thinking about it: Future Faces is a perfect record for a label that also got industrial metal experts Fange. Throatruiner is just expanding their roster – with a band that releases an enchanting record that I will keep on spinning for a long time, for all its post-punk glory. But I still don’t like Joy Division.