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The Long Faces - Documentaries | EP Review


You may have not encountered The Long Faces before, but believe us, many have. Despite only having a small bundle of tracks to their namesake, the young five piece have amassed over 2.5 million streams on Spotify, became the central point of a global fanbase and have found themselves included in an end of year list by a popular radio station in El Salvador – quite a bit of a stones throw from their hometown of Canterbury.

Lofty accolades indeed, especially when considering the lack of press coverage and a scarce live presence. With this in mind, it’s easy to ponder why the band have managed to secure such achievements whilst remaining unknown. This is a question that’s easily answered when listening their music however. Unionising progressive rock with sun-kissed 60’s psych, seductive outsider jazz and contemporary modern pop, The Long Faces are just one of those uniquely brilliant acts that you feel impulsed to tell your friends, family and perturbed work colleges about. Showcasing this experimental left-field brilliance wonderfully is their new three track EP Documentaries.

The Long Faces don’t waste precious time subtly introducing their familiar yet abstract sound. A song of sun-kissed minor key romanticism, ‘Sail Way’ is a gorgeous exploration of how youthful prog can be presented in a fashion that's of mediterranean warmth. Whilst the major aforementioned components of their sound have always resonated a sense of basement dwelling reclusiveness, here they seem airy, salt kissed and tropical. As the borderline Santana inspired riff reprises and trashes into a full acid jazz breakdown, this honestly plays out like yacht rock for the DIY prog inclined.

Driving this, and more or less their music as a whole, are the deep and whimsically romantic vocals of Tom Lane. Baritone yet adolescently playful, Lane’s vocal work is easily one of The Long Face’s most unique and appealing elements, intensifying the maroon coloured aura that surrounds their craft. Showcasing this is the title track, a filthy little mash up of Rush, Santana and the lilt of the UK DIY scene. There’s enough shifting layers present to pacify even the most keen of prog fans whilst still being something that would probably seduce your wine drunk middle aged mother.

Each track present showcases the many textures and layers that constructs The Long Faces, but final track ‘Where Have You Gone, Mr Wolf’ allows them to sprawl out and be enjoyed in full. A little more punky than it’s peers, the track animates the late 20th century prog tone associated with the title track but with ever so slight math-rock tenancies and sugar fuelled fervour, something that becomes apparent with it’s manically composed guitar solo. The group’s penchant for choral music also becomes clear here too, with bassist Kristina Rhode’s vocals engaging with a violent tug of war with Lane's prior to embracing as the track reaches conclusion.

Despite it’s leanings towards pop modernism, every one of these tracks just feel finely tuned, delicately composed and formulated over time with experimental creativity. The sheer excitability of this EP lies In the fact that each song constantly sounds like it could swing into either prog rock madness, pop rock bounce, latin seduction or sprawling post-rock doodles at any moment - all whilst remaining totally balanced and a unique combination of such components. This may only be a three-track EP, but for many, it’s going to be an unforgettable and enduring intoduction with a band unlike the majority.

Score: 8/10

Documentaries is self-released July 27th. Pre-order the EP here.

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