Facing New York
"Get Hot"

(Five One Inc. 2008)Facing New York - Get Hot

Don't let the opening track on Facing New York's "Get Hot" fool you: it doesn't fit into the album at all. Part Cake-esque spoken vocals, part Rage Against the Machine on Valium, it's a silly, lazy opener to an LP that is at some times careening and visceral, but at others flat and unworthy of the band's obvious talents.

Track two, "Give Love," is the high point, slamming away with a progressive edge worthy of Dismemberment Plan. After a short interlude, "All A This" booms along with massive fuzz bass a la Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five) and swooping vocals and synths that conjure Flaming Lips. But at this point the album changes gears, putting you to sleep with lush but uninspired tracks which try to channel Steely Dan but come off as immature and naive. The pace picks up with the rowdy "Man Up" and the ambitious "Gesture," but by then the momentum is lost and the disc is relegated to "rip the two or three songs you like and throw the CD away" status.

It's like the band can't decide if they want to be cruising up the Pacific Coast Highway at dusk or moshing in the dark, sweaty underground clubs where modern prog rock was born. Their 2005 debut was more of the latter, and "Get Hot" works well when this aspect of the music is engaged. Facing New York is taking a chance by broadening their sound, but they need to spend more time finding ways to meld the raw underground energy with the jazzy, more thoughtful pieces. The band obviously has the chops to do something special, and maybe next time around their sound will have developed into a more cohesive package.

At it's best, "Get Hot" is a hostile takeover of Maroon 5 by the Toadies, mixing progressive complexity with joyously catchy melodies. But the album spreads itself too thin, and the lyrical content isn't effective or memorable.

C

buy it!