As a musician, it must be nice to be able to take a break from a certain project, move onto something else, and then be able to return to your original idea without the slightest signs of rust. Laugh Now, Laugh Later, the seventh album from punk veterans Face to Face, is no laughing matter in terms of how great a punk rock record it is. In a year that has been more or less devoid of any punk rock, this disc shows there is still hope.
Face to Face is everything a great punk band should be, and their split in 2004 can be viewed in a couple of ways. On one hand, it was the tragic divorce of a band that had produced quality albums time after time. On the other hand, the breakup allowed the California punkers to get their heads straight and realize that Face to Face is where they ought to be. Although the lineup has switched gears over time, Trever Keith, Chad Yaro, and Scott Shiflett have found their way home.
The first track, “Should Anything Go Wrong”, feels like a migraine in all the right ways. It’s gritty, heavy, and fast, hearkening back to older work and proving that this band has not lost their edge in the least. “It’s All About You” is the catchiest of the bunch here. The sarcastic lyrics lampoon those who don’t really try in life yet attempt to reap the benefits of success. In hindsight, it’s sort of telling of today’s current youth – the entitled, so to speak.
On the whole, Laugh Now, Laugh Later brings new life to this band, and there are very few, if any, faults to be found. Sometimes it takes time away to gather new perspective, and it seems this break was meant for a greater good. They mix harder tracks (“Bombs Away”) with pop punk (“Pushover”), and they do it seamlessly. It has enough to please the hardcore fans and also enough to bring in the first-timers. You can call it a comeback, if you please.