Faceless Ones are an alternative indie pop/rock outfit hailing from Baltimore, MD. They are now essentially a one man band consisting of 21 year old singer/songwriter and multi instrumentalist Julian Coiner (he plays keyboards, bass and drums).
Founded in 2011, they were originally a five piece and then a three piece. They recorded their first EP South of Havens in 2012 and recorded one album Red and Subtract in 2014. Their music is comparable to bands like Vampire Weekend, The Strokes and Local Natives.
This track, Love Letter, was entirely written, performed and produced by Julian at Harbour Red Studios, engineered and mixed by Kenny Kings borough and Mark Richey. The music is sophisticated, creating a dreamy, almost surreal soundscape using atmospheric synths and a glockenspiel/music box style melody that runs throughout a lot of the song.
The beat is intricate and delicate, in a time signature that is unusual and difficult to place. This adds to the musical mystique and gives it a lilting feel, yet the music still flows naturally which is a neat trick to pull off. Julian has an expressive, distinctive voice that immediately grabs your attention and gives the music a strong sense of personality and emotional resonance.
The vocal melody is simple which nicely counterpoints and contrasts the complexities of the music. It doesn’t have a chorus as such and so the verse melody essentially acts as the main hook, which works effectively. Lyrically, it is just as sophisticated as the music, with Julian weaving finely written poetic imagery to great effect. The first verse sets the tone perfectly: “Crystal waters breaking ever near, breaths of life too far from where I’m dreaming…”.
The song’s subject matter is about longing for someone far away and he portrays this in a poetic and poignant way: “Woke myself to tears that dried up cold, salted by the ocean laid between us….”. In the third verse we hear the beautiful lines that inspire the song title: “Love the letters sent to you my dear, trapped my heart in old Italian parchment….”.
Overall, this is a highly impressive piece of work that shows a musical and lyrical maturity beyond his years. Despite its unconventional aspects that place it in the alternative category, the song is accessible and highly memorable. Its appeal lies beyond the alternative rock crowd owing to its melodic nature and beautiful lyrics, which anyone who has been in love will be able to relate to. An excellent track that should help place Faceless Ones firmly on the musical map and gain Julian Coiner recognition as a very gifted young artist.
Verdict: 9 out of 10