Track of the Week: Clio – “Faces” (1985)

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.

clio

“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?

clio2


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]

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