Ever heard of CrimsonFaced? No? Why not? I demand you tell me what rock you've been living under that you do not know CrimsonFaced. They are only the most important voice to hit the rock scene in years! Actually, I'm kidding about all of that. Before getting my hands on a copy of their latest, Lunatic Binge, I had never heard them either. And no, I do not see them as a particularly important voice on the scene. I mean, come on, there are precious few artists these days that merit the tag of important voice. That said, this is an ambitious and striking album that deserves to be given a chance as you may be surprised by what you find.
CrimsonFaced is the brainchild of musician Mike E.T. Love him, hate him, you cannot deny that the man has a vision. The music here is a labor of love with a dash of hate and rolled in spices that grow in the dark recesses of the mind. He is not afraid to let the song take over and break free from his writing, taking the listener on a psychedelic trip through catchy rock and roll excursions. At the same time the artist forges down an original path it does not shy away from letting his influences shine through. Listen closely and you get hints of Pink Floyd, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, and others. I swear I even got hints of INXS and God Lives Underwater in there. It is a fine line to walk between serious artist and someone biting on the talents of others. CrimsonFaced successfully threads the needle and in turn creates something that is more than the sum of its influence.
The music brings together all manner of sounds under its umbrella. Mike E.T. is not content to be restricted by traditional rock elements. In addition layers of guitars, drums, bass, and keys, you have synthesizers, processed voices, random sounds, and other oddities all blended together for the good of the music.
CrimsonFaced does not waste anytime dragging you into their world of oddities. The album opens with a slow electronic drum beat and some bass notes with a synthesized voice whispering something like "aaaaaw sexy…" before kicking into a rocking groove as the vocals kick in with the song. The song is called "Pretty People" and it may be the bastard cousin of Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People." In no time at all you are given a window into what CrimsonFaced is all about. Rock songs with a twist, heavy on groove, highly experimental will remaining accessible, and personal.
The catchiness, head rockingness of the opening gives way to a partially acoustic driven tune in "Sublime." This in turn gives way to "Lost Innocense," a song that begins with a slow, electronic influenced groove before revealing an aggressive core before launching into a smooth as silk guitar solo in the latter portion.
Now, I could take you through Lunatic Binge song by song, but why should I do that? I think it would be a better idea to leave you curious enough to seek the album out. It truly is a good album. It plays with the format of the rock song while never abandoning it. The music covers a variety of styles from aggressive rockers to softer, ballad type moments.
Lunatic Binge is endlessly creative in its application of special effects and other production techniques. Rather than become a distraction they more often than not enhance the music. From feeding the vocals through a processor they give Mike E.T.'s already unique voice a further kick into the odd. Combine that with the catchiness of just about every song and the fact that he can lay down some impressive guitars and you have a recipe for success.
Listening to this album is a truly odd experience. On one hand, it seems very familiar and accessible, while on the other hand it is unlike anything I have listened to in some time. It is an independent production and thus it is not quite perfect. The seams do appear once in awhile as it lacks that overall sheen you expect from a major label production. Still, this only adds to the charm and the do it yourself aesthetic that comes with indie work.
The independent feel of this record gives this album a lot of personality. The music has plenty of layers and elements blended together but it is not overproduced, nor is it a victim of dreaded auto-tune. This album has heart, it has the feel of human hands at the controls. Take this warts and all and give it a shot. Will it change your world? Not likely, but it will expand your experience and expose you to a musical voice you likely would not otherwise have heard.
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