Small Faces [Immediate]

Small Faces

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Small Faces [Immediate] Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Somewhat overshadowed by Decca's rush-released From the Beginning, appearing just weeks before this 1967 LP, and often confused with their 1966 debut by virtue of its sharing an identical title, the Small Faces' eponymous debut for Immediate Records is one of the great British pop albums of the '60s. The Small Faces were breaking away from their R&B roots, dabbling with LSD and psychedelia, and tightening up their songwriting, emphasizing pop melodies in a way they never did on their debut. Sonically, The Small Faces doesn't get as far out as the abandoned Decca cuts that surfaced on From the Beginning -- there may be some harpsichords but no outright psychedelia -- but it is bright, colorful, and concentrated, its very brevity playing like snappy pop art. No song runs over three minutes and many clock in under two, a direct contrast to the somewhat extended grooves of their 1966 LP, and an aesthetic that lends this an exceptionally modern feel: all the tunes are sharply cut and precisely tailored, with no wasted moments. It's transitional, still grounded in hard-grooving soul and pointing the way toward the richly textured Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, but by touching upon both extremes, The Small Faces may be the group's most representative LP and, in some regards, its best as well.

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