Facing New York – Get Hot

Despite the name, Facing New York is from California. The band is a three/four/five-piece (yes, lineup changes), standard guitar-bass-drums alt-rock group that’s more French Kicks than Green Day, so maybe that helps account for the name.

Get Hot mixes up styles a good bit. While there are obvious rock touchpoints, there are funk and punk influences bouncing around in the sound. There’s the Aloha-like “How Gong I’m Gonna Be Lawn,” with its delicate pop guitar work and vibraphone-like tones, for one. “Gesture” ups the heavy-rock quotient (Bonham drums, power chords) for parts and then retreats to a swinging bridge before hitting hard again for a bass-driven ending. The band’s playing is fluid no matter what genre it’s trying its hand at. “Comin Up” takes 70s keyboards and throws them into a syncopated, varied pop cocktail that’s got a serious Doobie Brothers inflection. It sounds like they took a 1977 pop hit and just messed with it.

And then what do you make of a track like “Cops On Bikes”? It’s satire, for sure: “When your testing was done / They wouldn’t give you a car / So they hand you a gun / Right on.” But it’s played to a minimal funk rhythm that veers back into 70s rock territory in some alien ways. It’s a crazy hybrid that you can’t quite pin down. Ethereal to dance to rock to whatever else the band members feel like playing, this disc cannot be pigeonholed. And the crazy thing is that none of it seems forced, and that testifies to the players’ musical talents.

No matter what blend of influences has a hold on a given song, the singing consistently hits the mark. Sometimes it’s more spoken-word/near-rap than singing, and in this respect it’s natural that the band would cite Dismemberment Plan as musical kin. “Me N My Friendz” indicts the hipster lifestyle in a style almost identical in delivery to Dismemberment Plan’s “Ice of Boston.” However, the aforementioned “Gesture” may be the only song to really rock the way Dismemberment Plan could rock.

The whole affair would be a disjointed mess were the varied approaches atomic per song, but somehow every approach comes together in every song. Sounds impossible, but that’s what we’ve got here.