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. Kicking off with the Smiths' "What Difference Does It Make?," Face to Face defines punk-pop with an amusing effort. Classic Johnny Marr guitars are exchanged for quick riffs courtesy of Chad Yaro, and the haunting imagery behind Morrissey's lyrics can only be taken lightly thanks to frontman Trevor Keith's copy-cat warbling. It's totally enjoyable nonetheless. The Psychedelic Furs' "Heaven" would make Richard Butler proud, and Keith's scowling vocals slightly capture Butler's signature smoker rasp, but with Mike Ness sarcasm. But that's the intention behind punk music of the '90s. Jawbreaker's "Chesterfield King" steps up the three-cord pogo-pounce and moshing, and it's uncanny how the band matches up to Bob Mould on Sugar's "Helpless." But it's Fugazi's "Merchandise" that illustrates why Face to Face did this album in the first place. It's nasty in the sense of presenting something completely unattainable by past generations. It's almost intimidating because Ian MacKaye's mental and lyrical caliber sparked an intensity in punk rock. Face to Face embraces that, grabbing everything behind the inquisitiveness of each song. The Jam's "That's Entertainment" wasn't left at the end for nothing. ~ MacKenzie Wilson