Small Faces

Small Faces [DVD]

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Classic Pictures, which produced this release, describes itself as "the future of music" -- one hesitates to ponder the learning curve that might be required to make that notion a reality, as the company's DVD menus and programming are obtuse and annoying, almost enough, when coupled with an overly high list price, to make people stay away from some wonderful video clips. The Small Faces volume in its special edition DVD EP series is a case in point -- at least one of the clips, for "I Can't Make It," looks like an actual, full, live performance, the band's instruments plugged in and every note actually played, at least where the drums and bass are concerned, and show what this group could do in generating an extraordinarily soulful sound; one can glimpse how this band, which never remotely got its due in America, left audiences in the rest of the English-speaking world spellbound for three years. Of the other clips, "Itchycoo Park" and "Green Circles," are mimed performances utilizing the standard studio tracks and Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane doing an almost contemptuously awkward dance-step on the latter, and "Lazy Sunday" also uses the studio cut but places the group in more of a conceptual, psychedelic setting as part of the mimed performance. Of course, they've got just under 10 minutes of music here costing $13 list price, which seems a little steep -- there's a rather dullish pop-up video function as well that is filled with the kind of information that almost any fan would know already, and hardly seems to justify the price. As with other releases in this series, it's impossible to let the clips play successively -- each must be accessed manually, which seems an unnecessary chore; and more space on the disc is devoted to promotions for other releases than to the actual performance itself.