Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Faces: Long Player [Warner Bros., 1971]
The difference between these guys and their smaller forebears, the ones who released round-covered albums and sang "Itchycoo Park" with whine and phase, isn't just Steve Marriott vs. Rod Stewart. It's 1968 vs. 1971. Marriott was a pop craftsman with the Small Faces; with Humble Pie he's a boogie man. Stewart is a pop craftsman solo; with the Faces he's a boogie man. Boogie's not a bad idea, especially when you play it fast and loose rather than 'eavy like the 'Umbles. But as exciting as it is theoretically--and by comparison with the competition, boogieing and otherwise--it doesn't have much staying power. That's partly because they play it too loose and not quite fast enough. And partly because Stewart reserves his popcraft for solo LPs. B