CD REVIEW: Face Candy - Waste Age Teen Land
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Face Candy
CD: Waste Age Teen Land
Genre: Fusion, Fusion, Be-Bop, Psychedelic Rock
Sounds Like: Face Candy, Primus, Lou Reed, Buckethead
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Dry Sound, Repetitive catalogue, Lack of Instrumentation
Face Candy hails from Minneapolis St. Paul & is an improvisation based quartet fusing free style jazz & rap. The roots of this band can be found in jazz, rap, comedy & even theater. The line-up includes J.T. Bates, Casey O'brien, Eyedea & Kristoff Krane. Their latest effort Waste Age Teen Land was recorded during two days at Winterland Studios & one night in front of an audience at St. Paul’s Black Dog Café. This album showcases the band’s full spectrum of sound from contemplative instrumentals to be bop type joke rapping.
The CD kicks things off with “One” a psychotic intro piece that sets the stage rather appropriately for this catalog of music. This first piece methodically unfolds with its pulsating bass groove against a grand mosaic of syncopated beats & vocal melody that push the envelope hard. Track 2 entitled appropriately “Two” serves up a trippy psychedelic groove that eventually lends itself to steady bass driven vibe against hypnotic vocal melody that’s captivating, mesmerizing & infectious. Track 3 “delivers more of the same low end bass/drum rhythm combo against chaotic rap type vocal flow. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic Lou Reed, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More & even Henry Rollins & Primus. This music reminds me of the Mike Meyers stage material from So I married an Axe Murder. It's defiantly an artistic blend of beat poetry against syncopated Jazz rhythms. The music is highly original & definitely brings to the table a lot of musical variety, eccentricity & musical unpredictability. You never really know what waiting for you around the next corner. Face Candy definitely brings to the table a wide range of musical creativity & artistic expression. You will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere - from be-bop type rhythms, percussive elements, a few live recordings, impressive jazz bass chops against impressive rhythms & beats. I especially like the low end grooves & beats as thick as a brick. As far as the vocals from Eyedea they are hypnotic, eccentric & extremely creative. Lyrical content is captivating with messages that are entertaining & though provoking. From compelling “4” to striking “5” to my personal favorite ”6” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “15” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
Face Candy is definitely headed in the right direction with this release. A few of the songs struggle to keep your attention span even at a coffee house. Why? Their overall sound – though brilliant is a bit dry & repetitive. I think more “zany” instrumentation which can be easily achieved through guitar, piano, Hammond Organ, horns, harmonica, more percussion, & vocal harmonies would definably bring more musical variety to the table. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I’m not crazy about the song titles – which ironically is lacking in creativity.
From start to finish Waste Age Teen Land by Face Candy is a tripped out musical experience that stands out from the rest. No doubt one of the most original sounding musical production to slid across my desk this year. It’s extremely consistent, original, & very unpredictable. Its strength - its high amount of originality, amazing grooves, & messages that are unique & captivating. I give Face Candy a lot of credit for just being themselves. Face Candy works best at coffee houses of late Night Improv hang outs. When the ride is over you will be dazzled by their originality, overwhelmed by the tripped out messages, & mesmerized by their musical diversity.