A Season of Songs is a type of Fun-A-Day project that I plan to do throughout this spring. I’ll hit shuffle on the ol’ iPod and see what comes up. I’ll then write a bit about that song, the band, the record, whatever. Enjoy!
Today’s song is “Confusion” by The Faith off the split LP with Void that came out in 1981. I have this on the Faith/Void/Faith split CD that collects the split LP along with The Faith’s later 12″ EP “Subject to Change”.
It’s mass confusion
Frustration and disillusion
Crying out in despair
Reaching out for what’s not there
Panic, panic, scream and shout
Lose your mind, there’s no way out
The Faith were a great early 80’s DC hardcore band that came about in 1981 in the wake of the first blast of Dischord bands in 1980-1981. They were formed from the remnants of State of Alert and the Untouchables. They would in many ways act as a bridge between The earlier hardcore sound of that early blast of DC hardcore and the Revolution Summer variety of DC hardcore that would come about in the mid-80’s with bands like Embrace and Rites of Spring (with members of The Faith ending up in both of those bands).
They would put out 2 records – this split LP with Void and then the “Subject to Change” 12″ EP in 1983. The bands evolution is noticeable by listening to the two records. The early songs on the split are more direct and typical of early 80’s DC hardcore. By “Subject to Change”, the band had developed their sound, creating more layered and complex songs. The addition of second guitarist Eddie Janney certainly helped grow their sound. Alec Mackaye’s vocal delivery also became more varied and showing a wider range. Listening to “Subject to Change” you can catch glimpses of the future bands that would come out of Faith.
I think a lot of times Faith gets overlooked as the members’ next round of bands (Rites of Spring, Embrace, Ignition) would eclipse them within the history of DC punk. Also when it comes to the split with Void, the punks get hung up on the sick insanity of the Void side and forget about the relatively clean, straight-ahead songs on the Faith side (which is a viewpoint that is hard to argue with as Void’s side of that record is sick. It took me years to wrap my head around that side of the record but now love the hell out of it). But at the time, Faith filled an important hole left by Minor Threat when they went on hiatus. As Ian Mackaye said of Faith’s break-up – “People were very unhappy, they just loved that band.”
“Confusion” is a great song. Alternates between chanted, slower dirge-y parts and fast, classic DC hardcore. Alec’s raspy vocals sound great. There are these great bass lines between the slow and fast parts. Bleak lyrics. It’s great. Also, it is the lead in for “You’re X’d”, which 1) features the recording of sound engineer Don Zientara saying “You’re X’d, take three”, and 2) has Alec angrily saying “If you defend them, you’re no better.”
Back in 2008, I would put on the Classic Dischord covers night at Roboto. Nobody covered The Faith, but I would get the chance to be part of the Ignition cover band with the guys from Soft Sickle. Ignition featured singer Alec Mackaye and bassist Chris Bald on guitar. I got to take on the role of Alec Mackaye and getting to perform those few songs was really fun.
I’m gonna throw this record (i’m talking about the CD with both Faith recordings on it and the Void side of the split) on the essential pile – mostly for what The Faith would become and also just because that Void side is gonna warp your mind in a really good way.