“Facework” wriggles like a centipede across your skin. Cillie Barnes’ voice brims with revulsion and barely-contained disgust, and a thousand tiny legs of sound shoot out of the song’s slim, agile structure. As “Facework” shimmers through each revolving minutia — courtesy of Bright Eyes members Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis, who produced the track — form follows function. Whirring synths disappear into gloomy strings, snippets of vocals cut and multiplied through huge swathes of drums. Even if the chorus repeats, the song is never the same twice. Barnes is describing a betrayal that changed the way she sees a former paramour, and as though it was dictated by Victorian moral code, the sins are also reflected on the face of her deceiver. As the song scurries by, I think of a face I once loved, and how it’s changed for the worse — as you listen, it’s impossible not to. “Facework” is a scathing condemnation of lost trust, conjuring up the past up like a mirage before dashing it to pieces. Listen below, and see if you can fall asleep tonight without regretting your own past treachery.
Also, the cover art reminds me of the artwork for another female musician I’m currently obsessed with, This Is The Kit’s Bashed Out. I guess we’re doing hand-drawn and orange this year? I’ll take that over glossy press photos any day.
“Facework” is out 4/30 on the singles collection Friendly Witch.