I love Car Seat Headrest just as much as the next guy, but as much as Will Toledo disowns it, I still think I prefer Nervous Young Men - his earlier project, comprised of mostly things for school. Some of these records, namely I Want Money, Not Friends and Fangface were previously expunged with only a few tracks coming back on later records. I Want Money, Not Friends became Boxing Day, and Fangface became NYM's self-titled. But out of curiousity, let's take a look. Specifically, let's take a look at Fangface.
I'd say Fangface has a fairly strong start. The short, clean sounding and subdued anger makes Fuck Merge Records a fair complaint that seems to have fallen on Merge's deaf ears. While the fast and chaotic track Are You Wearing Short Shorts? What The Hell provides the silly tinge you can find in any of Toledo's work, I think Vicodin's haunting hums, basic riffs and screams make it one of the most substantial highlights on the record.
Unfortunately, it seems like he only hit his stride in Fangface in the first few tracks before slowing down and creating less favorable calm-after-the-storm melodies. Although, I do have an appreciation for the basic, simple acoustic tone of Hazelnut Games and the somewhat distorted Skyscraper Delight.
The record ends bittersweet with the self-deprecating but catchy Bignose. I generally enjoy this album, but admittedly, it's hard to deny that it feels like every track was put in right after being made. It feels half-baked - like Barnes put all his power into the more layered first few tracks, then ran out of juice, slowed down, and made things a little simpler. Or maybe not. It seems more of the simpler, less memorable tracks, such as The Nite Owl and Die made their way onto the self-titled record while most of the rest was lost to time. If you're really itching for more of Barnes's work, then Fangface is fine.
MUST-HEAR: Vicodin, Hazelnut Games, Skyscraper Delights, Bignose
DECENT: Fuck Merge Records, Die, Broken Feelings
MEH: The Nite Owl, Gray Eyes, Irritation
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆