As the guitar intro opens to "Face to Face" you could be forgiven for thinking that Katy is about to launch into "Night & Day" or some other Cole Porter classic, and actually you would not be far off. This is certainly Katy as never heard before, reborn as a 40's style chanteuse with a perfect musical backing.
With a debut album to follow later in the year, this is something of a welcome back single, one that won't be on the album. It takes time to address just what the world has been through in the intervening months. It has the somewhat unique quality of feeling marvelously retro yet also modern as it comes laced throughout with some lovely references that are as meaningful to us now as they would have been to those wartime dancing couples at the Hammersmith Palais, albeit for totally different reasons.
At it's heart "Face To Face" deals with the problems of separation, something the whole world has had to accept in these strangest of times, where you can see someone by the wonders of technology and yet they can remain elusively physically out of reach. Katy runs with this idea, and like some clever sci fi movie runs it successfully in two time zones,
"I know we're not alone and I can reach you through the phone
But it seems to me we're growing apart"
That frustration clearly comes through in lines like
"We're supposed to be closer than ever before
But somehow we're farther away"
Katy has always possessed a fantastic voice and could probably charm while singing the telephone directory if she could find one, and so taking on this classic restrained style would not have been a problem, and may have introduced her to some techniques she would not have had to use before.
As mentioned earlier throughout there are lots of knowing phrases used to great effect
"We're living in a bubble - Oh when will it burst?
I'm not trying to cause trouble but I miss you so much that it hurts"
The song fades with more of those as if disappearing into the mists of time
"I know that we could zoom from Mars to the moon
and I know that we could tweet like the birds in the trees"
It's cleverly put together, well executed, with a fine attention to detail, from the clever lyrics though to the backing vocals which are definitely of a previous age and fit in so well. Although this may only be a temporary diversion if those same qualities are brought to bear for the new album then expect something special,
"Face To Face" is released August 27th -
The link to pre-save on Spotify - https://show.co/J1uqOHV