Justin Gitelman is a one-man band from Stow, Massachusetts who plays multiple instruments as well as sings on his debut album entitled Faces. Recorded in his own home studio, the album is a visual and conceptual representation of Gitelman and his life experiences, viewed through his synesthesia and the augmented sense of reality that he lives within.
The intro of “Black and White” features rapid acoustic guitar, mixed electronic and acoustic percussion, as well as light piano riffs. The acoustic rock song builds in complexity and intensity as Gitelman’s voice and background vocals join the mix in Gitelman’s vocal range. Gitelman’s talent in fingerpicking is prominent in “Face Your Fears,” a subdued ballad with throbbing bass and hushed percussion.
“One Chance” is a highly melodic piece with thought-provoking lyrics, bright acoustic guitar strumming and mellow singing. Even as the song crescendos in dynamics, the laid-back, sunny tone of the song is maintained. Similarly, the lush acoustic guitar in “Seasons” brings a very particular optimistic atmosphere to the otherwise ambiguous instrumentation. Gitelman employs numerous vocal effects and reverb-laced riffs to the power anthem “Waves,” the longest and arguably most memorable track on the entire album.
Beginning with quiet electric guitar, “Boston” quickly transitions into a beach rock-infused groove with grunge elements that sneak into the final moments of the piece. The energy of the album is reduced somewhat in the ambient “Rush” and “No One,” whose ominous tones are alleviated by constant acoustic guitar notes and occasional lush string sections.
The record ends with “Holding Back,” a relentless rock anthem with rapid percussion, lightning-paced electric guitar riffs and a chorus of layered voices forming the full soundscape. As a whole, Faces is a unique blend of rock, acoustic pop and ambient electronic styles that make for an immersive and genuinely enjoyable listening experience for fans of many musical genres.
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