Sonic Reducer: Strange Faces • Tony Brown • The Milk Carton Kids

Geoffrey Plant
3 min read
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Here’s a high energy, ’60s-tinged rock and roll record that never once lacks for catchy guitar leads and riffs. The band’s borrowing of the descending chords from The Kink’s “Sunny Afternoon” in the opening of the tune “Brand New Way” gives you an idea where their influences lie, but there is nothing stuffily retro or derivative about the group. Furthermore, the lyrics are captivating—something I wish could be said about more bands—particularly the simple tale of murder in “I Saw Your Face.” Stonerism‘s overdriven production (by Twin Peaks’ Cadien James) would merely highlight the flaws of lesser musicians, but Strange Faces have the requisite chops.

Tony Brown Love Hope Politricks (Self-released)

According to the folder full of material that accompanied the above CD, Tony Brown has “performed on the same stage as” groups like Primus, The Doors, The Police and a hundred other famous acts. Brown has toured the world and quite a bit of Saskatchewan and received many awards for his music. The highlight of the folder is an awesomely anachronistic 8×12 glossy headshot. This paper and plastic vessel of self-promotion also contained a bonus CD, Tony Brown Original Songs, that features such bizarrely low-fi vocals that I overcame my distaste for the guy’s brand of island-reggae-peace-jams and listened to more of the bonus CD than I did Love Hope Politricks which, in a word, sucks.

The Milk Carton Kids Monterey (ANTI-)

Welcome to part two of “CDs Geoffrey didn’t make it even halfway through.” It seems everyone but me knows who these Simon & Garfunkel-sounding idiots are and boy do I wish for that former state of ignorant, Milk Carton Kids-less bliss. Trite lyrics backed by some of the most innocuous—and yes, accomplished—folk music ever to escape the stage of “A Prairie Home Companion,” Monterey did not make a good sound track for delivering the Alibi this past Wednesdaynor would it make a good soundtrack for anything more involved than a coma. The fact that these dudes exclusively play fifties-era acoustic instruments that most Alibi readers will never be able to afford only makes me loathe this CD more.

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