Album Review: Two Faces West – Postcards From Lonely Places

As a direct result of the manner in which it was made, Two Faces West’s debut album is – in the words of the group – “a stylistic mess.” The record began its life as an EP project; then new members joined the Denver-based band, additional sessions were organized, and the result displayed the character of the “before” and “after” tracks side by side.

But expansive variety can be a feature, not a bug, if the listener is so inclined. “Ain’t Got a Clue” is a funky, melodic groove with some top-notch, in the pocket bass work. The horns may or may not be real, but they sounds good in any event. “Vegas at 3AM” is informed by the blues without actually being a blues. “The Ballad of Jerry Davis” shimmers like country rock infused with a heartland vibe; yes, it sounds like a wholly different group than the one that recorded the arena rock-flavored “Moonshiners.”

Banjos dominate “Rocks Like a Country Song.” The gentle “Mountain Sunrise” serves up some instrumental steel guitar work. “Brand New Sit” feels like ZZ Top crossed with Red Hot Chili Pepper (no, really). “Late Night” trades in Hendrix-styled riffage. “Spinnin’ Circles” displays the tight, turn-on-a-dime instrumental prowess of this outfit. “Dirty Ol’ Man” throws most all of the aforementioned textures and characteristics into a blender and hits the spin button.

The record closes with some traditional blues in the lengthy “Freedom (Live at The Bluebird 01/02/2020).” With its “golden throat” guitar solo (think of ‘70s Frampton), it, too, sounds like a different band. It’s probably best to think of Postcards From a Lonely Place as a mixtape; time spent with this album of diverse songs – solid as they are – doesn’t reveal a discernible character that one could easily attribute to one group. The group may be called Two Faces West, but on this album they display many more faces than that.