The Faces

Ooh La La Rod’s lapsed mods’ glo­ri­ous wreck­age.

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Reissues - ian Fort­nam

Striv­ing to iden­tify a pre‑teen per­sona for one­self in an era when The Faces are reg­u­lar at­trac­tions on Top Of The Pops leaves a man with ex­act­ing stan­dards of what is and what isn’t rock’n’roll.

When your mu­si­cal Old Tes­ta­ment finds its Ge­n­e­sis in Stay With Me, mock rock stands out a mile, be­cause The Faces de­fined the ram­bunc­tious spirit of their genre like no other.

Free of air­brushed pro­duc­tion emas­cu­la­tion or in­tel­lec­tual con­trivance, here were footie‑ lit­er­ate lov­able louts up to no good and lov­ing it.

Al­most in­vari­ably in­tox­i­cated and op­er­at­ing at a time when the leer­ing likely lad was king, The Faces were a five‑man hu­man wink, un­re­con­structed Capri‑revving arse‑slap­pers. They were fronted by a gui­tarist and vo­cal­ist who both made noises like 60‑a‑day smok­ers clear­ing their morn­ing lungs, sported elec­tro­cuted hair, flared ev­ery­thing and a hyper­ac­tive at­ti­tude that ren­dered opi­ated Stones mid­dle‑aged.

Ooh La La was orig­i­nally writ­ten‑off for its ten­dency to­ward sham­bolic chaos, but therein lies its ge­nius. Lead sin­gle Cindy In­ci­den­tally was the sound of a wide­spread sub­ur­ban frus­tra­tion that’d lat­terly fes­ter into punk, an on­com­ing Faces‑ ex­ac­er­bated raw rev­o­lu­tion that found its mu­si­cal lan­guage in the rag­ing, ragged riffs of delin­quent hymn Borstal Boys and boob‑job knocker Sil­i­cone Grown.

If all that’s not enough, Ooh La La’s con­clud­ing ti­tle track sees Ron­nie Wood aid­ing and abet­ting Ron­nie Lane in what’s pos­si­bly his finest con­tem­pla­tive com­po­si­tion.

Now back on vinyl, where they be­long, this is clas­sic rock.

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