The Faceless Corporation

We may not know who is employed at this company, but we are addicted to their products.

We've been fans of the work of Mr Jones since we first heard his Terrible Stories EP back in 2001. And now he's released (along with an unknown collective) a piece of work - art, if you will - in the shape of Episode One, by The Faceless Corporation.

This album is a non-stop attack on the senses, which never fails to bring an admiring grin to the face when you realise you've just been led down a path you never thought you would end up at.

We were so excited with this album that we thought we'd share it out - and that's where New Hellfire Club comes in. We contacted Anthony from NHC, and asked him if he would give it a listen and share his thoughts.

Here's what he thought about the album...

When the lovely people here at Evo4 asked us (me) to do an album review for them, we were delighted to oblige as it only strengthens the blossoming relationship between NHC Music and Evo4. If you want to hear more of the Evo4/NHC relationship in action, have a listen to the NHC Music podcast on Friday nights at 9pm on Mesiradio.com where each week there is a fine song selected by the good people here at Evo4 from their impressive roster of talent. Anyway to the matter at hand, I'm going to review Episode One, an album by a group of people known as The Faceless Corporation.

The Faceless Corporation is a loose and anonymous collection of writers, artists and musicians and Episode One is their first 'product'. The headquarters of The Faceless Corporation are in Bristol, but 'employees' (as they call themselves) are based all over the country. The idea behind the Corporation is that it gives no credence at all to the cult of the individual - they want to be judged on their products and not on the identity of the 'employees'. Excerpts from rehearsal tapes, song ideas recorded on mobile phones and answering machines are used throughout this LP. The whole concept behind this project and the album itself interests me, this was only furthered when I read the press pack listing the sheer number of genres that are used. Lo-fi alt-rock, scuzzy electronic, garageprog are thrown in there along with garage-rock, spaghetti-western and more. Surely with so many genres experimented with, there's bound to be something for everyone. The Faceless Corporation live by six guidelines:

  1. There is no such thing as a musical instrument you can't play.

  2. There is no such thing as a bad recording.

  3. Make no plans - trust everything to chance.

  4. All employees are equal and shall remain anonymous.

  5. There is no salary, benefits nor holidays.

  6. Anything you create shall belong to the corporation.

Episode One kicks off with Rock 'n' Roll Idiot which is a methodically paced acoustic song where straight away you can hear the difference in recording qualities. Somehow it all comes together into an enjoyable song underpinned by a catchy riff. A Coffin For A Mechanical Bird seems to take the form of a call and response between vocals and guitar for the verse with an almost fairground sound to the instrumentals as the song progresses, with the fairground sound becoming more and more unhinged - in the kind of way that gives you a perverse smile. Two songs in and this album, as well as the concept is gonna fuck with your mind. The Building is an electric affair, where there are vocals but I can't really make them out... there's almost a Fatboy Slim vibe at times (well a 1998 Fatboy Slim vibe, I can't really speak for his stuff after that) to the music in this song... Episode One is living up to its billing and not sticking to one genre or sound at all. The Day The Ships Came feels more like a radio broadcast, summing up a war that a song or at least the vocals do - it's almost like this song is a musical of a war report.

The Accidental Lobotomy Of Phineas Gage is an uplifting, up tempo number which completely caught me off-guard. I'd been warned that Episode One blurs the lines of genres and experiments with sound and yet this still surprised me. It's definitely surreal garage rock as the description for this song suggests... it had me bobbing my head along, definitely my highlight of the album. Even though it is in excess of seven minutes long, it kept my interest and absolutely flew by. Slack is a bass heavy, loud assault on any expectations you may have had after Phineas Gage... or at least it is until it reaches a the chorus of sorts where suddenly it's an acoustic affair, I really don't know where each song is going next, never mind the rest of the album! Smirk is another electronic effort, that almost feels like a broadcast being hijacked and interrupted.

Sludge is another assault on any expectations you may have, with changes in vocal styles and instruments from one line to the next. Taped is almost more like a news bulletin to begin with - however there is a brilliant guitar track in there after the bulletin is complete. Union Carbide kicks off with some pounding beats, reaching a spaghetti western feel through a crescendo of noise. It's another song that comes in at the over seven minute mark, but when there's as much going on as there is here, any concept of time is lost. Episode One concludes with Crime Scene, which is a song filled with distorted vocals, but some really catchy guitar work. The kind of guitar work that has you tapping your feet, the kind of guitar work that seemed kind of bluegrass and reminded me a bit of Rest For The Wicked by Cage The Elephant. I love that song, along with Phineas Gage, Crime Scene is probably my favourite song on the album.

Episode One by The Faceless Corporation is the most eclectic album I've ever heard in my life. It completely fucked with my mind. Even within a song the genres and sound seem to change about on a regular basis. There's a couple of songs where this works really well. Overall I find the whole The Faceless Corporation idea and ideals highly interesting. We might not be aware of who they are or who the individual employees are, but I somehow doubt this is the end of their creativity.

Thanks to Anthony for taking the time out to review this album, and we urge all of you to give it a listen and - better still - purchase a copy if you like it. But most of all, please share the name of The Faceless Corporation about. This world needs more eclecticness in it.

The Faceless Corporation website
The Faceless Corporation on SoundCloud


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