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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pop for people with refined taste

Another recent review (along with label mates, Factory Star's new mini LP) from the Vital Weekly webcast ("the oldest online source for music reviews") by Frans De Waard:


FACTORY STAR - NEW SACRAL (CD by Occultation Records)

Now, right now, the summer is almost perfect.  Good temperature, not too hot so you can't think anymore, but nice, a bit clouded, but lots of sunshine.  I should be out there, doing whatever people do 'out there', a holiday perhaps.  Pick a book from shelf that I already a couple of times, say 'Factory - The Story Of The Record Label', by Mick Middles and lie on the beach, listening to that 4 CD set of all the great moments of Factory Records. 

Perhaps, perhaps I would wonder whatever happened to some of those bands, certainly when Middles' book provides no answer for it.  But he mentions, extensively, the 'great lost band' of the new wave era, The Distractions.  It took them no less than thirty two years to come with a follow-up to the only LP 'Nobody's Perfect' (Island Records) and the great 7" on Factory Records.  That's something else, like releasing thirty-two CDs in a single year.  Ten songs, thirty-nine minutes: classic pop length.  With only two original members left, but with the characteristic voice of Mike Finney, this is some excellent encounter in the world of pop music - a world I hardly know anything about. 

The Distractions play some excellent melancholic songs (I am known not to pay too much attention to the lyrics, so I have no idea what they are about), but with a great breezy, early autumn atmosphere.  Not instant sing-alongs, as this is not pop for the masses, but for people with a refined taste.  Sometimes wine gets better over many years, what about The Distractions?  They are surely as great in those days, but perhaps even better?  Excellent stuff.

Which can also be said of Factory Star, the new band of Martin Bramah, a long time ago of The Fall and The Blue Orchids.  I sure liked their previous full length album 'Enter Castle Perilous' (see Vital Weekly 776) and their christmas single (Vital Weekly 808).  A band with Bramah at the helm and on vocals and guitar, along with someone playing organ, bass and drums.  Simple and effective music, be it more rock than pop, to draw a difference with The Distractions. 

Here are six new tracks, spanning the length of a 10" (in which this is also released, for Occultation CDs are effective tools of promotion) of again mild psychedelic music, with the organ playing that highly effective role, remembering us again of The Doors, although Factory Star doesn't share the jazz like feeling of Manzarek's playing of the keyboards.  It colors the music wonderfully well.  'Strangely Lucid' one of the songs is called and that's how one probably feels after hearing this.  Great stuff too.  I am about ready to book that holiday and take with me all those great Occultation releases and nothing else. 

Frans De Waard

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