by Shawn Gakhal
For a band that once garnered comparisons to post-punk legends like the Fall and Joy Division, you’d think that the Factory Floor would want to capitalize on their indie credibility right away. However, Factory Floor, the London-based band, which formed in 2005, chose the circuitous route by slowly building up their reputation in the scene via post-industrial, almost no-wave inspired releases like Taking On Cliffs and Untitled released in 2009-10. Even with all the goodwill they have seemingly built, greater bands than them have seen the peril of taking the laissez-faire approach in response to their sometimes unexpected, overwhelming success—thus, effectively killing their own perceived hype (see: Hot Hot Heat and Autolux). Nevertheless, I’m reminded of novelist, George Elliot’s timeless quote: “It’s never to late to be what you might have been.” These words have never rung more true and applied so directly to the sonically charged, dark disco stylings of Factory Floor, released on DFA Records.
“Turn It Up” is ironic given the subject material, as it’s filled with electronic kick drums, synthesizers, which ring into sonic nothingness. The song is a test to those with high levels of patience, as the robotic whispers and the echoing of a girl’s ethereal voice ripples and pervades the atmosphere, adding to the gloomy ambiance. The song has no real rhythmic structure or melody to it. “Fall Back” is straight out a 1980s thriller movie, where one can imagine the main character trapped in some kind of bizarro world, acid-induced dream. It’s clear that the Factory Floor rely much on electronics, as an influx of reverb feminine hushes, industrial, machine-like synths, and a drum machine efficiently kill the atmosphere.
“How You Say” is charmingly hypnotic, even though the formula for Factor Floor remains the same. More of the same electronic elements, though the track features a killer electronic synth like to boot. One can almost conjure up this song playing at an underground, rave club in a futuristic world. The monotony of the track might be a turnoff for some, as the song isn’t anything to roll down the window of your car to jam to. But, it’s the type of the song that grows on you after repeated listens (only took 1 for me, though). Cuts like “Work Out” and “Breathe In” are post-industrial throwbacks to eras bygone that once glorified disco and dance.
Factory Floor is, ultimately, an album that is for hardcore post-industrial fans (think The Rapture) or for those who appreciate the art of ceaseless electronics. There’s no straightforward single that’s instantly recognizable and infectious. Most of the songs are pretty long lacking a distinct hook, even for the diverse world of electronica. They are just left dangling in search of that big payoff, which never comes. Listening to Factory Floor is akin to traversing to an art gallery and trying to meticulously figure out the meaning of a Jackson Pollock painting—maybe, there is an art to the craft or maybe the lack of an organizational structure purely exists for aesthetics.