Friday, April 25, 2008

Resurrected by the Factory Floor...

Factory Floor - Francis Francis

Where's Paul Morley when you need him? I only ask, because I feel I should be injected with a dose of his meticulously crafted, often baffling, prose to do justice to my latest discovery. The clue is in the name, you see - Factory Floor. Tony Wilson would have adored them. It could easily be Manchester 1978, but it's not - this is the sound of London 2008. It's like the baton has finally been passed on. We've been promised the resurrection before - the post punk revival of not that long ago, that failed to deliver on so many levels. But this could well be it.

On the first side of the orange vinyl 7" (limited to 500), an aborted, twanging surf riff hangs bloodied and ravaged alongside a dark, abrasive bass rumble. The drums clank and spasmodically twitch - there's even what sounds like the remnants of the click track Stephen Morris used to follow when Joy Division played live. The vocalist adopts the morbid, baritone howl Ian Curtis modelled on ol' Blue Eyes himself. The sound is so incredibly authentic you start to believe Martin Hannett is back from the dead and up to his old spatial production tricks. Like the condition it is named after, 'Bipolar' is a song divided; its personality split between the initial jaw-dropping JD resurrection, and the incendiary conclusion, as sheets of white noise guitars assault your ears, the vocal howl is replaced by a blood-curdling scream and the drums move out of claustrophobic Hannett-territory into a future funk dimension - all propelled by the immense bassline that sends you hurtling towards the dancefloor.

Then, over on the flip, Factory Floor lob out a curve ball that forces you to reassess who are they are and why they are here. 'You Were Always Wrong' is an absurdist tale which appears to be about a paper boy killed in an arson attack on a newsagents (featuring the greatest opening line to a song I've heard for a long time - "In the spot where the halfwit's magazines were..."). The music is ramshackle early-Fall - all deconstructed, clanging riffs, a jarring bass, drums like an orderly tumble down the stairs, and the vocal delivered with an incredulous bark that Mark E. Smith would be proud of.

It's impossible to ignore the reference points, but it is important to state that this is so much more than just a band regurgitating what has gone before. Factory Floor aren't some shonky old tribute act - arty and cerebral / primal and raw in equal measure, this is a truly remarkable debut.

I'm not posting either of the songs available on the 7" - buy that, you owe it to youself. Instead, I have 'Francis Francis', an exclusive demo generously donated by the band. This is a brief but stunning amalgamation of all that I have mentioned above, but probably closer in spirit to 'Bipolar'. Propelled by krautrock rhythms, the vocal reminds me of Syd Barrett for some reason, and it all culminates with a classic Keith Levene riff, which splinters into jagged shards before the song, abruptly, ends.

'Bipolar' b/w 'You Were Always Right' is released by Outside Sound on Monday 28th April 2008. Purchase it from Norman Records
Factory Floor MySpace - check here for upcoming live dates and streaming of all songs.
Factory Floor website
Outside Sound MySpace