While they’re increasingly one of the more cerebral elements in the song as we press on through the track, there’s scarcely an instance in which the string play in “Face to Face” isn’t as focused an entity as we could ask for it to be. After all, if there’s one thing that America’s Sweetheart prove themselves ultra-capable of doing in this performance, it’s staying sharply attentive to detail even when delivering one of the spacier – and ironically alluring – harmonies out of the American underground you’re likely to come across this season. Striking but not too bold a shade of brilliance, “Face to Face” is exactly what anyone needs to get into this band’s sound.
The percussive component of this single is so thin in comparison to the melodic output of the guitar and vocals that it’s almost transparent, leaving a bit of a void where depth of rhythm would normally be found. This feels a little surreal, but once we get some additional structure in the music video, it’s definitely not enough for me to consider America’s Sweetheart to be a purely experimental venture at this stage of the game. They’re not into the status quo in their scene, but ultimately the framework of this piece tethers it to the pop model over anything supremely rebellious.
I would really like to hear how America’s Sweetheart play “Face to Face” in a live setting sometime, mostly as I see there as being a near-endless amount of options with regards to how they could potentially arrange it. Whether stripping it down to an acoustic number or even giving it a little more gas with the right electric guitar setup, this is the sort of song that serves as an identity piece not because of its specific theme but because of the stylishness with which it presents a template (and it’s one I want to hear more of for sure).
If you love dreamy indie rock as much as I do, odds are you’re going to be head over heels for America’s Sweetheart and what they’re doing in the new single “Face to Face” as well as the song’s accompanying music video. With pandemic pop trending across the board and a growing insularity becoming a standard poetic feature of an emerging generation of songwriters, this is a group daring to be different in an almost classical sense, and theirs is a story I sincerely want to know more about after hearing this latest work.
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