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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Mr Mister - 1984 I Wear The Face
Mr Mister - 1984 I Wear The Face

ARTIST: Mr Mister
ALBUM: I Wear The Face
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1986, RCA, PD84864


LINEUP: Richard Page - vocals, bass * Steve George - keyboards, vocals * Steve Farris - guitars * Pat Mastelotto - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hunters Of The Night * 02 Code Of Love * 03 Partners In Crime * 04 32 * 05 Runaway * 06 Talk The Talk * 07 I'll Let You Drive * 08 I Get Lost Soemtimes * 09 I Wear The Face * 10 Life Goes On

The 80's was synonomous with a few acts and artists. The Los Angeles quartet Mr Mister could be grouped into that category with their pair of 1985 hits 'Broken Wings' and 'Kyrie Eleison'. The band however had formed two years previously, while the two main instigators Richard Page and Steve George had a track record prior to that as the trio Pages (including lyricist John Lang), who released three albums during their 1978-1982 tenure. Of course Page and George were equally legendary as one of the best pairing of harmony vocalists in the L.A session scene. Their work can be heard on countless albums. Mr Mister then, is a formation which moved out of the west coast/AOR market, and into a hi-tech studio wizard four-piece, bringing in fellow studio hounds Steve Farris and Pat Mastelotto. 'I Wear The Face' was their 1984 debut, though it was only a low-key entrant into the 1984 market, entering the Billboard charts and making it to #170.

The Songs
The first single from the album was the lead-off 'Hunter Of The Night', whch showcases the sound that America would eventually fall in love with the next year. At this point, the band hadn't quite perfected their lush style, instead leaning toward a sound that mirrored a hybrid of The Outfield and The Police. This is especially evident on 'Code Of Love', where the production of former Men At Work and future The City keyboardist Peter McIan shines through. I liked 'Partners In Crime' too, which is 1984 styled AOR with a hint of Avion in the mix. The hybrid reggae/pop of '32' didn't quite work for me, though it came off like Novo Combo in parts. So too the track 'I Get Lost Sometimes', which sounded like I was listening to their 'Animation Generation' LP. 'Runaway' is another album highlight for me, the lead vocals from Page a standout. 'Talk The Talk' is probably the most hi-tech offering here, and apart from the tinkly keys from Steve George, 'I'll Let You Drive' tosses more Outfield like flurries onto the fire, including a superb guitar solo from Steve Farris. The title track 'I Wear The Face' goes down the hi-tech/funk route; not quite as flattering as the previous material.

In Summary
Of course, things would go ballistic for the band the following year with their breakout album 'Welcome To The Real World' with the aforementioned two hit singles. Following that success, 'I Wear The Face' got a CD reissue in 1986 by RCA, and came with a different album cover than that of the original LP. So far though, we are yet to see a remastered reissue of this one. Maybe one day soon..

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#1 | code4 on October 12 2015 20:08:34
Great see this one added. I was late onto this one (being not all that mad about the 2nd album most the way past the singles) and i just loved it. Possibly what was first so surprising was how this sounded so different to the album that followed. It has a superb rounded and warm production quality yet that's not the only difference. The material on 'Welcome' was often a sort of 'hard synth-pop/rock' style and while 'I wear the face' can and does rock out for sure, not in quite the same way.
This debut has more in common with bands like The Police (Ghost in the Machine era) and even The Cure with it's heavy use of modulation (chorusing effect i would guess) on the bass and/or guitars.

Three excellent opening songs (each one getting better than the last culminating in the rather stellar 'Partners in Crime') before '32' being a bit of a hiccup to say the least, as George rightly suggests.
While it sounds awfully wannabe Police with it's reggae-ish flavours going on, i don't think the music is so much a problem here but rather the slightly cringey verse lyrics and in particular the chorus of '32, do a 32'...which rather irks (me at least). Past this the excellence returns with 'Runaway' (even if this one does have a dated break section straight out of early era new-wave-land, which is something you only find at rare moments 'here or there' on this album actually because believe it or not over 30 years later it is not too dated with most the songs served up) followed by the killers 'Talk The Talk' and 'I'll Let You Drive'. Absolute epic guitar solo'ing indeed on both these songs. Actually 'Talk the Talk' has one of my personal fav guitar solos of all time. I put that up there with solos like Dan Huff's on Giant's 'Stay'! (though 'I'll let you Drive' is pretty much just as great).
The closer 'Life Goes On' is one of the weakest (and most dated songs) after '32' and the title track that comes before it is more 'average- quite good' for me. 'I Get lost sometimes' sounds boring at first but i found grew on me a lot so really, asides from those 3, I think everything else here is excellent or in many cases brilliant. Easily a strong 4 stars from me for this album.

Thanks for taking the time to review it and add it to the ranks.

p.s. I edited down my review comment here shortly after posting. Hope i didn't confuse anybody sorry. A lot of what i wrote originally was too much waffle about my thoughts on other Mr.mister albums and a bit off topic for this page. Thanks again
#2 | gdazegod on October 14 2015 00:42:41
Mr Mister - 1984 Hunters Of The Night
#3 | Eric on October 18 2015 22:37:36
The original sleeve was superior. I remember reading an early review of this album and the guy compared them to Pablo Cruise. Wonder what he was smoking?
#4 | code4 on October 18 2015 23:22:59
Haha Eric. While i never got much into them i am pretty familiar with Pablo Cruise (having had a couple of their classic era albums in the past) and totally agree with both your points. Regarding that cover i've often considered printing up the original, cutting it out and slipping it in on top of this booklet! I won't argue with anybody who says the 80's were by the large a dreadful time for fashion.
If the label ever re-issue this on cd i would imagine it is safe to say they will revert to the old cover without a moment's thought Smile
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