The Faces - Ooh La La album review

Rod’s lapsed mods’ glorious wreckage

Cover art for The Faces - Ooh La La album

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Striving to identify a pre-teen persona for oneself in an era when The Faces are regular attractions on Top Of The Pops leaves a man with exacting standards of what is and what isn’t rock’n’roll.

When your musical Old Testament finds its Genesis in Stay With Me, mock rock stands out a mile, because The Faces defined the rambunctious spirit of their genre like no other. Free of airbrushed production emasculation or intellectual contrivance, here were footie-literate lovable louts up to no good and loving it.

Almost invariably intoxicated and operating at a time when the leering likely lad was king, The Faces were a five-man human wink, unreconstructed Capri-revving arse-slappers. They were fronted by a guitarist and vocalist who both made noises like 60-a-day smokers clearing their morning lungs, sported electrocuted hair, flared everything and a hyperactive attitude that rendered opiated Stones middle-aged.

Ooh La La was originally written-off for its tendency toward shambolic chaos, but therein lies its genius. Lead single Cindy Incidentally was the sound of a widespread suburban frustration that’d latterly fester into punk, an oncoming Facesexacerbated raw revolution that found its musical language in the raging, ragged riffs of delinquent hymn Borstal Boys and boob-job knocker Silicone Grown.

If all that’s not enough, Ooh La La’s concluding title track sees Ronnie Wood aiding and abetting Ronnie Lane in what’s possibly his finest contemplative composition.

Now back on vinyl, where they belong, this is classic rock.

Ian Fortnam

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 20 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.