Chicago rock group Strange Faces was originally intended to be frontman David Miller’s solo project in 2013; but soon Taylor Walters (Guitar), Phillip Valdez (Bass) and Ben Leach (Drums) jumped on board and formed the band they are now. Their debut album Stonerism brings in the goods with 60s inspired hooks and a lo-fi punk/rock sound, appropriately produced by Cadien James of fellow punk/rock group Twin Peaks.
The guitars roar in nearly every track and ignite an addictive energy throughout Stonerism. There isn’t anything too complicated going on here which makes for an easier listen; opener I Saw Your Face is edgy and fun, however the reverb on the vocal puts it a tad out of focus in parts. Tracks like the bouncy Skippin’ Town and the lagging Such A Drag are also highlights.
After a little while though you may begin to notice a lack of diversity between most of the tracks. Miller could have attempted different tones with his vocal (if he wanted to), the guitar riffs are different but don’t stray far from the comfort zone; more could have been explored. That being said, closing track Long Time has a different sound from the rest of the album and is the closest to a downbeat ballad the album gets; the short and sweet Why? warranted an extra minute or two.
Stonerism isn’t the most groundbreaking punk/rock debut album out there, but Strange Faces are only getting started. They have their sound so now they have the opportunity to explore what else they can do with it for future releases. Stonerism is a nice, breezy album that would go great with the summer season.