CD Review: Review: Ace Noface “Toxic Charm”

acenofaceA lot of people are under the impression that piano-based music just can’t rock…Ace Noface proves just how false this assertion can be. His excellent new release, “Toxic Charm”, pounds its way into your head with its infectious melodies and lyrical urgency. No doubt this urgency stems from the fact that Ace Noface has tragically been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Musically, we’re dealing with some very catchy stuff – the vocals have a clear, warm tone that sound like a cross between Jason Falkner and Ben Folds, and the harmony vocals are plentiful and well placed. But beyond the engaging melodies are some of the most thought-provoking lyrics in music today. Ace Noface is unafraid to explore the themes that most musicians wouldn’t dare touch, from religion to the cowardliness of bigotry, to deep contemplations on the meaning of it all. Much like Freddie Mercury on Queen’s masterful “Innuendo”, Ace Noface boldly shares his most intimate thoughts knowing that the hands of fate are tightening up around his throat. Those of us who take our health for granted can all learn a lesson hearing what someone in this unique position has to say. He’s also a great storyteller, getting into the head of the notorious Toronto bicycle thief Igor Kenk on “2000 Bicycles”.

Amazingly, Ace Noface crafted “Toxic Charm” literally note by note, as it was written with just one finger due to his disability. This is completely undetectable after hearing the layers upon layers of musical complexity, which effortlessly weave standard pop progressions with threads of jazz and prog rock. Highlights include “Regret”, “Whiskey Bottle”, and “Gotta”.

Pick up this CD from Ace Noface if you are a fan of Ben Folds, Keane, Mêlée, or Five for Fighting. “Toxic Charm” is easily one of the best piano-driven rock CDs of the year so far, musically and lyrically.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9

Ace Noface on MySpace. Official site. Get it.

Donate to the ALS Association.