How to Ruin Everything is Face to Face's reflection piece. The bandmembers take a look back on what made them love punk rock in the first place and churn it into an infectious disposition. They spent the 1990s fighting against the mainstream and through various personal and professional shifts inside the band, and How to Ruin Everything emerges as Face to Face's strongest material to date. Frontman Trever Keith is fierce, and his songwriting is now shaped into something courageous and meaningful. He and bandmates bassist Scott Shiflett and drummer Pete Parada ignore current punk-pop sounds for a gnarling rock growl. Songs like the shifty "Double Standard" and the spiky rock cuts of "Why Would I Lie?" are vibrant and nasty. "The New Way is spirited while resisting the social mainstream, and the self-criticism found on "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" rollicks with angry riffs and Keith's rough-edged vocals. Like those who came before them (the Clash, Johnny Thunders, the Jam) and those who've followed (NOFX, blink-182), Face to Face's underlying desire has been to remain original and in charge of its creative direction. The bandmembers are not going to listen to anyone, nor will they shift their rowdy rock stylings to match what's fashionable. "The Take-Away" is the fist in the face; it serves as a warning that punk rock is in demand and that the members of Face to Face will keep doing it their way.
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AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson