It shouldn't be necessary to mention that this Port Townsend, Wash., trio is pretty fresh out of high school. After all, referencing age often serves as underhanded condescension—even within complimentary contexts–in terms of how relatively good a band may be. But New Faces slays anthemic disco rock, with no embarrassing signs of greenhorn awkwardness, no too-cool-for-school transparency or that over-primped glossiness of, say, the Jonas Brothers.
On their debut album, Two Years, the band mixes leap-frogging beats with sharp storytelling. "Impulse" feels like the next iPod or Target theme song, which is to stay it's edgy, but pop-errific and easy to digest. "Melts Like Ice" evokes the indie new wave punk of 1990s Seattle and Olympia bands—Silkworm and Dub Narcotic come to mind—and singer Nico Janssen purrs and pines with the cool-yet-dramatic style of David Bowie. In "She's Like the Snow," Janssen's breathiness sounds like true desperation, but controlled, too, as his staccatoed words work like instruments hiccupping through the glowing "ahh"s of background vocals.
The album feels both retro and modern, and its poignancy stems from youthful, new-crush sentiments rooted in self-confidence, making New Faces feel less like fad and more like long-term contender.
New Faces plays the Badlander Friday, Aug. 14, with Secret Powers and the Racquet at 9 PM. $5.