Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Faces 4: Ooh La La

Even with the changing in attitudes and success, the Faces could still come through with what they did best. While stories are rife with increasing tensions between Rod Stewart and the rest—plus Ronnie Lane wanted to tour in a gypsy caravan—it’s astounding that Ooh La La is as together as it is.
Right away “Silicone Grown” sets up the boogie, a great riff and bash for two chords. Due to its similarity to “Memphis”, “Cindy Incidentally” could pass for the album’s token cover, but works its way up to a different chorus, for a superior tune. Ronnie Lane gets two minutes to shine on “Flags And Banners”, a lovely strum given some fuzz and over too soon, then it’s back to boogie on “My Fault” (Ronnie Wood soloing all the way, natch). The rollicking “Borstal Boys” is the only song we know that features a Klaxon horn, bringing back childhood memories of Cheaper By The Dozen, and not the Steve Martin atrocity. Too bad it doesn’t play through the whole song.
An already short album has an instrumental, “Fly In The Ointment”, kicking off side two, and while it has too many minor chords to be a jam, it’s perhaps a sign of the lack of camaraderie behind the scenes. Still, it’s a good setup for a quieter selection of tunes, beginning with Rod’s tender “If I’m On The Late Side”. The surprising vocal combo of both Ronnies and Ian McLagan propels “Glad And Sorry” to wonderful heights, then “Just Another Honky” has another nice riff swapped between the piano and guitar. The title track caps the album, a lovely conversation between the generations, with a lead vocal by Ronnie Wood, of all people! We can thank modern pop culture for bringing this song into wider exposure, given its appearance in movies and commercials, and we’re not sick of it yet.
Even if they didn’t know it would be their last studio album—and they probably didn’t—Ooh La La manages to be a truly grand finale, expertly sequenced, without a single throwaway. Some things are apparently just too good to last.

Faces Ooh La La (1973)—

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