Factheory – more than just a band from Brussels
It might come as no surprise for followers of the legendary band, Joy Division, that many bands found influence and cause for further imagination from the English rock band. Often cold and at times jarring, Joy Division sparked a generation fueled with rock, punk and poetic influence. Factheory, a band based in Brussels, takes its name from the Factory label (Joy Division’s label) and creates a gripping, yet hopeful collection of songs in their Stockholm EP out now.
Comprised of just four songs, Stockholm is a slow build with fruitful returns. Clocking in at just over five-minutes, the title track is a dreary, wintery and desolate. The murky guitar and percussion seems to be within its own heart, and expresses a lush, modern sound. The headiness of this song is not overdone, but as a listener I felt a wondering mood, a search for comfort. I think Factheory does evolve to a point of love and warmth, by the end of the song, but only after a few listens. This song is ripe with collected energy and bubbling angst. Yet, it’s like finding a rose in the winter months. It’s there, beneath the surface. I found “Stockholm” to more New Order than Joy Division, but also easy to sprinkle in Blue October and even Live. Side note, yes, of course, the remaining members of Joy Division formed New Order after Ian Curtis’ death.
“The Road” is brighter than the title track. I found the repetitive lyrics “Do you realize the damage done?” interesting. It was as if I was eaves dropping on someone’s diary. We’ve all been there- our mind just gets stuck in a swirling drain of fear, anger and uncertainty. Factheory captures this imagery and “The Road” directs itself to a subdued, solid rock song.
The third song, “In and Out” captures even more near-debilitating emotion. It’s just raw. The vocals aren’t as clear, but the backing music is immensely emotional and paints a vulnerable landscape. Again, comparisons of New Order come to top of mind, yet, Factheory create a world uniquely their own – no facade or hesitations. There’s no trembling of voice or second guessing of guitars; “In and Out” captures a loss. Be it romantic or otherwise, losing something is hard and Factheory nails it in the uber good, “In and Out.” The most moving and beautiful part of this song, I think, is that it embraces the hurt and sadness.
“Already Gone” is the final track on the EP. The band once again reinforces its state-of-mind with a repetitive lyric: she’s already gone / she’s already gone give me a gun / she’s already gone for reasons not found. These words might have fallen on deaf ears if not for the chillingly beautiful orchestration and music bed. The string arrangement has a powering effect and lifts up the song in an effortless way.
Belgium’s Factheory has tremendous points of view and thrills to say the least. While in a darker, moodier mindset, they are definitely a go-to. Still, the whispers of brightness (the string section in “Already Gone”) prove the band is not all doom-and-gloom. Stockholm is an excellent EP.
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