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Albums Of The Week: Face To Face | No Way Out But Through

The L.A. vets celebrate their 30th birthday with a blast of old-school punk power.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Iconic West Coast rock band Face To Face’s 10th studio album No Way Out But Through is a record that brims with intelligent songwriting, arena-sized choruses, big guitars, and a distinct musical fluidity that comes from playing together as a band for over 30 years.

Face To Face are a rarity in the music world: A band that not only helped define a sound, but who continue to fine-tune their music with each subsequent release. This is undoubtedly true of the No Way Out But Through, a melodic-punk masterpiece teeming with blistering guitar riffs, fleet-fingered basslines and vocal harmonies that are so infectious they’ll be rattling around your brain for weeks on end. Then again this should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed face to face’s 30-year history. Guitarist/vocalist Trever Keith, bassist/background vocalist Scott Shiflett, guitarist Dennis Hill and drummer Danny Thompson once again reject complacency and push their musical limits on the followup to 2016’s return to form Protection.

“This lineup of face to face has been intact for well over a decade at this point and it’s the best lineup the band has ever had,” Keith explains. “On Protection, I was intentionally writing songs that were reminiscent of our first three albums but on this album I was able to try some different things. There’s a freshness and a newness to the way that these songs came together, and I think that’s really evident when you’re listening to this album.” This connection and chemistry lies at the core of No Way Out But Through and is why the inherent energy on the album sounds so effortless.

Photo by Derek Bahn.

No Way Out But Through sees Keith, who has always been known for his motivational anthems, penning some of his most introspective lyrics to date. “I wouldn’t consider this to be a concept album but I did base each song on a thematic idea this time around,” he explains. These themes range from overcoming anxiety to self-acceptance, ideas that have been a constant aspect of face to face’s mission statement as their sound has constantly evolved. “I really like writing songs that are motivational or inspirational on their face but ultimately have a message that helps people become a better version of themselves.”

While most bands celebrating their 30th anniversary are releasing reissues and retreading their past, Face To Face have crafted one of the most vital and energized albums of their career with No Way Out But Through. In fact, in many ways the album is the sound of a band hitting their stride with all cylinders firing. So what is the secret to their enduring vitality? “We’ve had our hiatus, we’ve made art records, we’ve made acoustic albums, but the best path for us has always been forward, and so here we are,” Keith summarizes. “We may be in our 50s now but we wanted to send a message that we are not mellowing out and that this is energetic, hard-hitting punk rock. We’re full-steam ahead as a band and as songwriters.”