Album Review: Northern Faces – Fingers Crossed

New York Triplet Northern Faces came out swinging with their second studio album, Fingers Crossed.

The Equal Vision Records band straps their hearts to their sleeves and holds little back with Fingers Crossed. It’s a tasty, uncomplicated tour through the band’s struggles and grit. The stadium-rock energy and groovy choruses on Fingers Crossed are bound to win fans.

Fingers Crossed finds its zest in a constantly transparent message.

It’s a life-sized personality, wrapped up in a fun and accessible sound. Nearly every listener will be able to connect with and dance to the album.

Fingers Crossed is undeniably poppy. Its formula consists of many tried-and-true favorites, sometimes flirting with cliche. However, the band gives the occasional somethin’ somethin’ to gently nudge themselves out of the box in satisfying ways.

“Bryan Shortell’s shoot-first, contemplate later nature feels admirably honest- It’s hard not to root for them.”

The lyrics of Fingers Crossed at times feel a little half-baked, but there’s a charm in their unrestrained openness. Bryan Shortell’s shoot-first, contemplate later nature feels admirably honest. It’s hard not to root for them. There’s a tangible excitement from singer Bryan Shortell, to take a listener straight to the chase of his mind and heart. Northern Faces has plenty of heart to spare.

[tw-toggle title=”About Nothern Faces”]
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Equal Vision Records
Release: August 24, 2018
Connect: Facebook | Twitter
Purchase: Choose Your Service

It’s always refreshing to see musicians taking on the task of finding self-release through their music. The rougher and straighter the message, the closer the singer comes to putting their inner demons on the mantelpiece for all to see in victory. There isn’t a single bit of pretense, concealment, or euphemism in Shortell and co-singer Marco Testa’s message. I can tell they crafted this intense self-exploration to heal rather than pander. This genuine cleansing of insecurities is as easy to stick to as a magnet on the fridge.

We get moments of really satisfying basswork in Fingers Crossed.

A bouncy little bit in dark-horse hit “Renegade”, and some subtle zing in “Firecracker” that takes me back to old Raconteurs mega-hits. “Find Your Mind”, a personal favorite, slaps some particularly tasty bass. Bassist Matt Ippolito definitely shreds some gnar on Fingers Crossed.

The guitar work gets the job done. It’s digestible and succeeds at holding the energy down. It’s got an occasional tasty modification and some expressive fretwork dotting the album, especially in the solos. The guitar humbly reiterates how much heart there is on Fingers Crossed. I can see Shortell and Testa wailing away these festival-worthy solos with contagious energy.

Northern Faces “Firecracker”

“Firecracker” is from Northern Faces’ sophomore full-length ‘Fingers Crossed’, coming out August 24, 2018.

There’s not too much to say about the percussion on this album- it doesn’t overcomplicate. The verses contain little percussion and focus more on the emotional message. On the flip side, the high-flying moments of the chorus really pop with a rattling tambourine one could recognize from miles away. It’s a nice touch.

There’s a lot of room for Northern Faces to grow on Fingers Crossed.

It’s easy to match the enthusiasm of the band’s presentation. I see where the album has to grow into rather than what it lacks. The lyrics feel like letters on a jet-pack, flying straight to a single person. I want Northern Faces to expand the scope of their lyrics; the one-to-one nature feels a tad one-dimensional sometimes. Some of the lyrics on Fingers Crossed could have spent far more time cooking. There’s room for more genuine expression in many of the lyrical clichés that come up across the album. I hate to say it, but narrative strays from its aim occasionally and gets close to preachy.

The vulnerable message on Fingers Crossed can feel like a short leash for the listener. Letting the lyrics flesh themselves out a little more, with fresher vocabulary and more deliberate rhymes, could take good care of this phenomenon.

Fingers Crossed is an album that I could belt out with a buddy on a long road trip. It’s catchy and the replayability is decent, but I’d need a musical breather after an album’s run or so. Easy, absorbed, and ceaselessly transparent, I like what Northern Faces has cooking on Fingers Crossed.

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