Alexander The Great – Faces Change

Alexander The Great - Faces Change

Alexander The Great - Faces Change

Alexander The Great specializes in songs about living and learning. The band flirts with but never quite commits to an emo aesthetic, as it seems to enjoy straight pop-rock as much as it does the punch of its heart-on-the-sleeve predecessors (e.g., Braid). That is to say, it doesn’t always want to back its confessional narratives with just four chords and a fast beat. And it doesn’t think that yelling should be the primary way of getting a point across. 

If the music is a little baroque at times, it usually doesn’t get into the realm of the completely self-conscious navel-gazing that we’ve come to accept from our indie-rock beloved. If “Postcard” wants to mix up some time signatures, so be it. If “Late Night Rockits” wants to get a little Iron and Wine on us and remove the rhythm section altogether, it’s OK. If “Jetsetting Jets” wants to start with piano, segue into a Jets To Brazil trope, go quiet, and come on strong again, it’s forgiveable.

A song like “Invisible Ink,” as emo as anything from the 90s in terms of lyrics and music, seems to suit the band’s style more than some of the other tracks here. The musicians seem to be enjoying the simplicity of just rocking without too much thinking. That’s not to say that the more intricate “Cold Feet” feels forced, but by comparison it feels a little precious.

There’s a lot of really thoughtful music on Faces Change and a lot of really powerful, tight playing. These guys definitely have their chops and know when to show them off. At the same time, though, it’s hard not to make mental comparisons to the bands that did this kind of thing in the past but did so with the advantage of novelty. There’s nothing wrong with the album, and certainly nothing wrong with the way it’s executed and produced, but it’s hard to get completely behind the effort when its best moments remind you of its perfectly good forebears.