In anticipation of their first studio album, the members of Face The King find themselves at an interesting crossroads. The New York natives continue to toe the line between DIY indie and arena rock, but are becoming more polished with each EP. After the quartet's latest effort, The Sound, you can imagine that the arenas are coming soon.
Face The King has a respectable body of work that includes stints on Vans Warped Tour and a sold-out show at Manhattan's Grammercy Theater. On The Sound, they reach out for more, beginning with thumping drums and rolling bass on "You Me & the Sound." The song, which serves as the band's latest single, is buoyed by Eric Zirlinger's radio-ready vocals and an angsty, if not catchy chorus. "Can you feel the drums coming up through the ground?" Zirlinger asks. It has to be a rhetorical question: drummer Randy Palumbo dominates the record, a theme throughout the EP.
While "You Me & the Sound" touts pop sensibility, the subsequent "All the Pretty Things Between" stretches the band's sound beyond typical teenage romantics. "All the Pretty Things Between" suffers from a distracting vocal reverb, but compensates with U2-style guitar and more big vocals from Zirlinger on the hook. It's ultimately the EP's most aesthetically and sonically pleasing cut, making "All the Pretty Things Between" aptly named.
Crashing percussion and soft guitar riffs power "The Stage," an accurate reflection of where Face The King stands at the moment. "Well I just wanna be on the stage when the lights go down," Zirlinger belts. The lyrics are a little skimpy, but the band commands attention with another huge hook.
The EP concludes with "The Science Apart," the EP's most consistent song. Zirlinger's pipes are perfect for the song's rising and falling tempos, and while lyrics run repetitive again, the cohesiveness of the guitar, bass, and drums makes for another successful track.
Face The King benefits from talented musicianship, something that's lost far too often in up-and-coming indie acts. Zirlinger has the voice to carry the band to its arena aspirations, but the songwriting is what keeps it grounded with uninspired Warped Tour company. Still, the good well outweighs the bad, and as Face The King faces its first full-length, all it has to do is keep churning out The Sound that has it buzzing in the first place.