Though they first arrived in 2008, it was really in 2011 that the London trio Factory Floor—Dom Butler, Gabe Gurnsey, and lead Nik Void—finally began to make waves with their muscular modular workouts, first with ~(Real Love) on Optimo Music and then with the dead-eyed post punk grind of Two Different Ways on DFA. Just as importantly, over the last few years the band has steadily developed one of electronic music's most lionized live acts. Add to that Nik Void's collaboration with Chris Carter and Cosey Fanny Tutti of Throbbing Gristle and a remarkable EP of Balearic minimalism earlier this year with Peter Gordon, and it's clear why Factory Floor's debut arrives as one of 2013's most-anticipated full-lengths.
Factory Floor maintains the formula that opened our ears initially: industrial post-punk that wobbles and pounds its way to the dance floor. Included are "Two Different Ways" and the lead single from earlier this year, "Fall Back," both slices of grey-and-black android hedonism. But fresh to the album are some of the band's most propellant creations to date. On "How You Say," their heady combination of live and electronic percussion underlines a strobe-lit noise anthem that's sure to please fans of their early singles. Though it relies less on their formative rhythmic backdrops, "Work Out" is sly herky-jerky electronica, its anxious synths left to buzz and twitch against its machine-drum spazz.
There are respites and retreats between these more motion-bound creations. Opener "Turn It Up," for example, is a withdrawn and forlorn moment of distance, with its ringing synths tumbling around the edges of Void's robot-drawl. "One" gives us roughly 40 seconds of strange clarity before the blast of "Fall Back," in which Void's voice ripples into a, well, void. Perhaps the most unexpected of these small detours is "Three," essentially just a minute and 40 seconds of the kind of pre-dawn Italo crawl you might expect from Italians Do It Better. But situated just before "Work Out" and the bruising closer "Breathe I," it's a welcome recline before another descent into the trio's mechanized dance floor summons. It's these short but critical tracks that massage Factory Floor into a well-considered and promising debut album, one that knows just when to stop and breathe before breaking another sweat.
Tracklist: Factory Floor - Factory Floor 01. Turn It Up
02. Here Again
04. Fall Back
06. How You Say
07. Two Different Ways
09. Work Out
10. Breathe I