With help from dance producer Arthur Baker and Rings musician Michael Baker, Face to Face craft their first and best of three albums (four, if you include the Streets Of Fire soundtrack). There's nothing like a hit record, and "10-9-8" is a great hit, though nationally it failed to make the Top 20 and hovered in the 30 range of chart action, it follows "Under the Gun" on side two in terrific fashion. "10-9-8" is a mesmerizing song with little nicks from Chic's 1979 tune "I Want Your Love"; it has groove, passion, and solid production work from Arthur Baker. Though Jimmy Iovine, Gordon Perry, and Michael Baker produce four of the songs, it is the two by Arthur Baker which resonate loud and clear. That probably led to Baker's producing eight of the ten tracks with Ed Stasium on the follow-up album, Confrontation, an album which had three producers and Bob Clearmountain mixing, but no songs as memorable as the three noted in this review from the band's debut. Michael Baker adds his Rings magic on "Don't Talk Like That," the rock & roll which would evaporate on subsequent albums cutting through the electronic drums. Though "Out of My Hands" opens up the self-titled Face to Face disc with power and intensity, the basic problem that haunted this band is the thin rhythm section -- poor William Beard hardly sounds like he's playing on the vinyl, and John Ryder's bass doesn't have the Jack Bruce bottom needed to add some color to the magical sounds Angelo and Stu Kimball weave around Laurie Sargent's excellent gritty voice. She helps "Out of My Hands" rise above its limitations. "Face in Front of Mine" might be the best song on side one. It borrows heavily from Fleetwood Mac's "Sarah," which came out five years earlier. "All Because of You" and "Pictures of You" suffer when Sargent's not fronting -- it was like Janis Joplin taking a back seat to Big Brother & the Holding Company on the first Mainstream album -- when you've got a Sinatra who wants to hear the opening act? If anything, the semi-duets and male vocals really prove it was Laurie Sargent's show. The strengths of this album are the hits, "Under the Gun" and "10-9-8," especially when Laurie Sargent goes into high gear. "Face in Front of Mine" is a close third -- and the album and band should have caught on. To find another group taking their trademark years later says something about how music isn't always treated as the art that it is. ~ Joe Viglione
69353MFace to Face (CD)http://oldies.scdn5.secure.raxcdn.com/i/boxart/large/38/85/664140388529.jpg?v=411.9816.18USDOutOfStockWounded Bird RecordsCDPop-RockFace-to-Face2008-07-10
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