Over three decades since Ian McLagan joined Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane to form the best mod band this side of The Who, The Faces remain one of the most brilliant overlooked bands of their generation. Given the rock ’n’ roll muse’s tendency to abandon musicians who ply their trade in the genre for more than 20 years, there was plenty of opportunity for this album (only McLagan’s second solo outing in the last 24 years) to end up a nostalgia piece for a man few currently recognize as more than a session keyboardist for the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. To that extent, Rise and Shine is an unmitigated success, better than just about any release from his reasonable British rock facsimiles.
Having set down roots in Texas, more than a little heartland twang creeps into the tracks such as the effervescent power-pop of “Rubies in Her Hair” and the quasi-choir sing-along in the clever “The Wrong Direction.” Even better are the delicately soulful ballads, evoking Exile on Main Street-era Stones on the earnest “Anytime” and the bluesy dobro and gospel piano of “Lying.” He even channels a bit of Faces swagger in the rollicking “Been A Long Time,” one of the greatest blasts of mod rock since the band’s run ended. Sure, they aren’t all winners here, and the point can be reasonably argued that the sentiments once befitting him as a young man seem more than a little awkward springing from the mouth of a rock veteran nearing his 60th birthday, but the personality and distinction invigorating his work is truly stunning.