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Factory 81
Mojo records

Reviewing music without comparing it to something familiar is difficult. It’s convenient to have a frame of reference to convey your thoughts. And when so many new bands sound precisely like so many preceding bands, it makes our job that much easier. To make it vague, Factory 81 is like a well-Tooled Korn machine. How’s that? And while the basic elements of this band may not bring anything original to the table, some of the intricacies of their music are astoundingly fresh. I would dare say they are usually better than the bands they borrow from, for what that’s worth. The inventive rhythms and layering hold your attention from song to song. And the tight musicianship is very impressive.

Most notable is Andrew Cyrulnik’s amazing, and sometimes even humorous drumming. He is more than a timekeeper. His drums are an emotive element as sure as the tune. Singer Nathan Wallace’s lyrics range from pseudo-spiritual Live prose, to crass ranting. The story behind "Peace Officer" doesn’t garner the rage that gave birth to the song. "Hey, I know if I choose to look this way, Johnny’s gonna bust my balls. He’s got a hard-on for freaks like us, you get over it." Nothing mind-blowing lyrically, but like the listener, he’s focusing on his nasal faux Indian Tool vocalizations, switching them up with Bizkit scraps. He’s most disturbing feigning harmlessness in "Belligerence." Like the Weirdos with a vocoder. Screaming "You’re not my friend" takes the piss out of the screaming, though.

"Rotten Strawberries" provides a catchy Killing Joke jungle rhythm. It’s fast, but not especially hard. A real departure that is very stirring, giving up heaviness for anticipation. Sound layers are carefully maintained in "3 O’clock Love Letter" until the aural assault is upon you. The music is well conceived and executed. By the time "Ephedrine" and "Diary Of A Serial Killer" hit, it’s far too late to screw up the flow.

There’s a deceptively sweet guitar lick on "Cheese Wheel." The vocals take an intriguing roller-coaster maneuver. This is the most single-worthy track. The intensity sways and breathes. Eastern guitars join the increasingly off-key nasal passage to India for "Sludge." Lovely toms punctuate the ringing guitars. It’s the most intelligent song offered. By now the rage-rap portions are background, and the instruments take over.

Factory 81 produced Mankind themselves, much to their benefit. Separation between sounds, and the mature playing are great. The lyrics are crybaby stuff. Maybe when Nathan has a little more real trauma under his belt, we’ll see some sparks. He has promise and ideas. The fancy vocalizations should wait until you get down basic crooning. Then there’s the played out rapcockrock…

-Ewan Wadharmi

Track Listing:

  1. Nanu
  2. Peace Officer
  3. 14 Left
  4. Rotten Strawberries
  5. Belligerence
  6. 3 O’clock Love Letter
  7. Ephedrine
  8. Diary of a Serial Killer
  9. Cheese Wheel
  10. Sludge
  11. Peace Officer (black & blue mix)

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