The Long Faces are Baroque and extravagant on ‘Eisenhower’.

The London-via-Canterbury Quintet make a triumphant return with a jaunty indie-folk reinvention.

Image: The Long Faces | Words: Varun Govil

Born in the prog-Mecca that is Canterbury, and raised on all of its quintessential Britishisms, The Long Faces have long been striving for their perfect sound. Something that captures the inventive and mind-melting ideals of their forefathers while also bringing in a necessary youthful indie flair. Since their first release in 2017, when most of the band were very much still in their adolescence, the group have been through lineup changes, geographical relocations and constant stylistic evolutions. Having come of age in London alongside peers Black Country, New Road and Ugly (sharing members with the latter), their latest single, ‘Eisenhower’, offers a contemporary sense for the ephemeral and exuberant.

In a way, listening to ‘Eisenhower’ feels simultaneously like being at a Renaissance Fair, complete with unapologetic anachronisms, and on a school trip to castles in the countryside, head full of youthful boldness and half-formed concepts of pastoral ‘Englishness’. As jaunty violins and plucky pianos dash wildly over rapid pulses in shifting meters, the piece captures the essence that The Long Faces have long been hunting: that pure and exciting balance of countryside folk and prog traditions. Melding the two into a camp and vivacious package, the band land in a space that concrete genre markers would only do a disservice.

Whilst it’s no secret that musical tastes are swinging back to embracing theatrical flairs, felt recently in the hype surrounding The Last Dinner Party and the enthusiastic reception of releases and performances from Walt Disco and HMLTD, few possess and even fewer could embrace musical extravaganza like The Long Faces do. Their music speaks of a musicians who have come of age together, stumbling towards and refining their sound and style in authentic tandem to produce a product of rare joy.