Having helped generate the first wave of '90s pop-punk, Face to Face was due to profit from the mainstream success of artists like Lit and Blink 182 who had taken their melodic approach to punk songcrafting to new commercial heights. With so much punk credibility to be had, the last thing anyone expected these famous SoCal punkers to do is release a hard rock record; which is exactly what the foursome did when they shipped their first disc for Beyond Records in 1999. From the initial drum and guitar blasts of the record's lead cut "Overcome" Ignorance Is Bliss lets listeners in on the fact that Face to Face would not be limited to the punk genre, and that the quartet's songwriting skills stand up against the most successful of hard rock bands. This fifth studio release is ten songs deep, singer/guitarist Trevor Keith's voice is classic, and the production is powerful and detailed. Punk politics get tossed to the wind as the band slams through one mid-tempo hard rock gem after another. With their mid-'90s alternative radio mega-hit "Disconnected" -- from the band's previous studio release Big Choice -- Face to Face proved themselves as pop-punk trendsetters. Ignorance is Bliss ironically takes this radio-hook mastery to a higher level, yet the CD was almost universally ignored by radio stations just as it was praised by critics. It would be easy to assume that fans and radio programmers alike were hesitant to support such a legendary punk band playing straight-ahead alternative rock; however, a close inspection of the Face to Face discography reveals that they did indeed release a very punk record, Reactionary, a year later to similar radio and sales reaction. It's also curious to note that the band consistently sold out larger and larger venues during the two-year period each record was promoted. Face to Face might have confused some of their fans, but ultimately, stretching out musically with Ignorance Is Bliss was a sound artistic, if not commercial, decision.
AllMusic Review by Vincent Jeffries