#Sassafras: Not in the Face
Not in the Face // Self-Titled EP
Record Label: Electric Factory Records (Out Now)
Like an answer to a question not asked, Not In The Face interrupt whatever you were doing with an overdose of great rock and roll. The Austin, TX based quartet broke through with a single in 2013 and have packaged that single along with 4 more to form a new self-titled EP on Electric Factory Records.
The single in mention is the fire-breathing “Brass Tacks”, a burner of chest-thumping drums and guitar with vocalist Rick Fashion (given name: Jonathan Terrell) giving it all he’s got. It’s the kind of track you’ll remember and want to play anytime you need your much needed primal scream therapy. “Always Tonight” splashes with a catchy ‘Petty-esque’ chorus. Although the production and sound is modern, it would sit very well amid 80s jams by Springsteen, Petty and Greg Kihn.
“Life Behind The Pine Curtain” (great song title btw) has chimey 12 string guitar breaking in between strums on a low-key beat. That 12 string adds a Roger McGuinn flavor without sounding too retro and a whistle mated with the guitar solo gives an almost Spaghetti Western showdown feel. The amps get turned back up to 10 with “Say That You Love Me”. The thick-as-a-brick playing of lead guitarist Scotty Hotbody (given name: Michael Anthony Gibson) is playful like CC Deville but not showy. He adds to the song without stealing the spotlight.
Louis Prima drums rise in “Single For The Summer”, the closing track in this too-short offering. A great windows-down summer number about a girl who sheds her relationship commitments during the summer months. It’s a danceable number that makes you yearn for performance on American Bandstand.
If Eagles Of Death Metal listened to nothing but early 80s pop-rock, it’d end up sounding like Not In The Face. Although “Brass Tacks” was how I first heard of them, the band has so much more to offer than the flamethrower rock the song showcases. In 5 tracks, they cover a lot of musical ground and with each cut, their musicianship and vocal abilities meet the challenge. If Not In The Face has more to offer following this EP, I can’t wait to hear it.