Denver Post Reverb - Steal This Track Song Review From FaceMan - The Gospel

Savvy follower of Colorado music that you are, you already know that Steal This Track is second only to our state’s fine live music venues as the place to hear what’s going on in the local music community. But did you know that Steal This Track is also becoming the spot for Colorado band’s to debut new music? Such is the case with today’s column, giving our readers a chance to hear brand new music from enigmatic Denver outfit FaceMan a whole year before the rest of the world does. Oh, and did we mention that this one is in full, CD-quality audio? What are you waiting for? Get stealing.

Denver’s indie-jazzy-folky-Americana-rock ensemble FaceMan — comprising drummer Dean Hirschfield, multi-instrumentalist David Thomas Bailey and mysterious frontman Steve (yep, just Steve) — has made a name for itself with its striking visuals and ambitious live shows. Calling in favors from the city’s top acts, the group’s signature events — patterned loosely off the Band’s “Last Waltz” — include all-star collaborations, elaborate stage craft and truly memorable performances.

Even on record, FaceMan is prone to high-reaching artistry. The just-released “Feeding Time,” the band’s second album, includes collaborations with the Rebirth Brass Band and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Behind all of that theatricality and grandeur, however, are FaceMan’s songs. Subtle, often simple and pathologically sincere, Steve’s tunes — not unlike those of the Band — resound in stark contrast to the group’s ostentatious performances.

“The Gospel” — our exclusive premiere from FaceMan’s as-yet-untitled third album, slated for release in 2013 — is a shimmering example. Recorded with Bryan Feuchtinger at Uneven Studios, the track includes contributions fromJulia Libassi (the Raven and the Writing Desk), Eric Johnston (the Outfit) and Neyla Pekarek (the Lumineers), but all of those cooks in the kitchen lead to a surprisingly subdued, sparse and moody tune. The centerpieces for this aural feast are Steve’s supplicating lyrics and his earnest vocal delivery. The effect — as the title suggests — is somber, soulful and hymn-like.

While you’re just getting familiar with FaceMan’s second album, you can steal a high-quality version of “The Gospel” today, nearly a year ahead of its planned official release. Then catch FaceMan live — the band will be at the Walnut Room on Friday and at the Lion’s Lair next Thursday — in one of its upcoming, scaled-down shows.