Despite the post-industrial label often affixed to Factory Floor, there’s a greater complexity of sound within the band’s music that defies such facile descriptions. Yes, there are rigid, fixed beats, and other sounds from the manufacturing plant, as suggested by the trio’s moniker. But there is also an underlying danceability that belies the seeming austerity of the sound; a hint at warmth that cuts through the permafrozen exterior. That curious balance has paid endless dividends thus far: they’ve been remixed by producer Gavin Russom, Liars’ Angus Andrew and No Age’s Dean Allen; remixed and released by Optimo; remixed and collaborated live with Throbbing Gristle legend Chris Carter; and remixed and produced (!) by Joy Division and New Order’s Stephen Morris. It’s been a whirlwind few years in terms of musical accolades, and Factory Floor’s DFA debut is a glimpse into why.
The answer, by the way, is apparent at first listen. “Two Different Ways” has a barren beginning that settles into a minimalist soundscape, a single heavy synth line that passes through mechanical kicks and snares. Nik Colk’s haunting vocals, which sound simultaneously bewitching and very nearly indifferent here, pours out in moody pools over the sparse arrangements. But for all the chills of these desolate environs, there’s a climate change at the song’s midsection. There, the previous procession meets cowbell percussion, a secondary synthline and a rise in energy that tapers off, only to later reappear with renewed vigor. By the end, you realize that Factory Floor do restraint and release – and at moments, some careful balance of the two – with equal aplomb.
The B-side (it’s literally a track done in two different ways) takes a cue from New Order, and instead of slight beginnings we get a song that’s fully fledged from the very start. No need for vocals to enliven the sound here – and they only make brief appearances in the song: This is, essentially, pure electronic pop that simply feels good all the way through.
- Kali Holloway
Published: 20th October 2011