There’s honestly not much I need to write to introduce you to this 1985 Italo Disco classic. “Faces” is synthpop perfection, crafted with Platonic ideal examples of drum machine tracks, detached and bittersweet vocals, and a simple but effective bass line anchoring it all.
While the verses anxiously describe a betrayal (or at least a suspicion of one), the choruses suddenly lighten the mood and propel the song forward with a double-time bass part. While the bass and drums of “Faces” borrow heavily from a more early 1980s electro era, the tinkly bells on top are pure FM synthesis of the mid-1980s. In this case, the sum of its parts is like a crash course in effective production techniques in electronic pop from about 1978 to 1985, with analog and digital gear playing to their best individual strengths.
“Faces” was released as both a 7” and 12” single in Italy and Germany on the labels Crash and Chic, sometimes backed with the track “Feel the Fear.” There was also a 2016 re-release on the Italian label La Discoteca. You can also find it on Spotify, where it can surely find a home in many a synthwave roots playlist.
And what’s not to like about that faux-Patrick Nagel cover art?
Chris Frain produces and performs electronic music under the moniker Pattern Language. His EP, Total Squaresville, is available from Happy Robots Records (UK) at: [https://happyrobotsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/total-squaresville]