Every now and then a record comes along that for some intangible reason sucks you into its orbit and simply refuses to let go.
‘Factorycraft’ by FOUND is one such record. Which is, in many ways, entirely appropriate because I ended up feeling intrigued rather than blown away by the three live shows I saw them perform in Cellardyke, St Andrews and Glasgow in the second half of 2010.
There were undoubtedly some frustrating elements to the shows, like when they seemed to cut a couple of their best songs short just as they were getting started.
And they repeat that on ‘Factorycraft’. But whilst it was frustrating live, it’s more of a strength on record since, if you want to hear the song again, you can do so quite easily. Without the hassle of travelling to Edinburgh 4 weeks hence.
So by shearing a final chorus off the likes of ‘You’re No Vincent Gallo’ and pretty much having no proper chorus at all for ‘Anti-Climb Paint’ FOUND rather cunningly draw you back again and again to the record.
It’s not just those two tracks either – LP closer ‘Blendbetter’ is something of an epic yet it wrong-foots the listener by threatening to dissolve into electronic chaos at one point before emerging triumphantly on the other side with an anthemic finale – and yet one which is surprisingly succinct when in other hands it could have gone or for days.
What’s interesting too about the record is that although half the songs are familiar from the live shows, these songs are by no means completely representative of the whole LP. So ‘Machine Age Dancing’ is NOT one of the songs I remember from the shows yet the Phil Spector/electronic hybrid was put out as the lead single from the record.
And it’s FOUND’s ability to confound expectations throughout that makes this such a compelling record. In amongst the twists and turns there are a couple of unexpectedly straightforward song types such as the (warped) soft rock epic ‘Shallow’.
I’m acutely aware that the constant praise of LPs so far this year is in danger of sounding glib. But 2011 is genuinely shaping up to be a truly great year for albums and ‘Factorycraft’ is another entry into an apparently ever expanding roll of honour.
Buy it here or in your local record shop.
A live version of ‘Machine Age Dancing’ from Limbo Live: