It’s ironic that a band as retroactively inspired as Switzerland’s Future Faces should take such a name for themselves; but once you’ve finished smiling to yourself about that particular little foible, you’ll soon realise that there’s much to enjoy about the band’s late seventies/early eighties-inspired schtick.
The band released a fine EP, Revolt, a couple of years back, all stark Dave Evans jangles and swooping, knee-bothering Peter Hook sonic rumbles, and whilst some of that stylistic pretension remains on new album Euphoria, the glaring fact that comes out of repeated listens to Euphoria is that Future Faces have become a very different beast since 2017…
There’s a sumptuousness about the material on Euphoria that was signally missing on the EP, a lush, kitsch-en sink approach to production that actually changes the game completely for the trio. Gone are the melancholic bedroom musings, replaced by widescreen, opulent, cinematic bombast that won’t fail to appeal to anyone who grew up with this sort of material pumping out of night time radios in the early eighties. But whilst the basic framework remains the same, not only might this as well be a different band all together to the one which recorded Revolt – it’s one that makes those obvious influences entirely it’s own.
Thus the urgent synthwork on Halcyon remembers (but doesn’t ape) a pre-Vienna Ultravox without the faint air of pretentious silliness, whilst the guitar driven intro of the excellent Shallow brings to mind a strange hybrid of Flock Of Seagulls and Dennis Lyxzén‘s underrated synth punk outlet INVSN; but where before the influences dictated the sound here Alexandre Muller, Matthieu Baumann and Eduardo Garcia bend the old sounds to their will to create something deliciously fresh, if not exactly new.
Delicious penultimate track Visage (and no, it doesn’t sound like Steve Strange… much) is where everything comes together best, a goosebump-inducing romp that’ll have you searching the cupboards for your old trench coat and fourteen hole Doc Martens; but for all the teary eyed ostalgia tracks like this might prompt, the fact remains that if Future Faces can keep coming up with material of this calibre then the, um, future would appear to be a very bright one indeed. Essential listening for those of a gothic persuasion everywhere.
Euphoria releases on February 17th.