Music Review: FACS – Void Moments (Trouble in Mind, March 2020)

Hex Storm happened to be in the room that goes best with this record cover. She also has not been featured here yet, which is ridiculous, because she is clearly one of the most gorgeous and intelligent living creatures any of us have ever seen.

My good friend, Victor, took me to see FACS at the Empty Bottle late last year. It was a little goofy at first; they had this insanely weird opening band that sounded like Deee-lite if Shaun Ryder from the Happy Mondays was singing instead of Lady Miss Kier. (Empty Bottle often throws down extremely weird line-ups and I am very into the delightfully unpredictable shows that result.) I had never heard FACS before, but I went on Victor’s recommendation.

Their set was incredible; I was riveted the entire time on how they built sound so collaboratively. While they are all very captivating to watch as musicians in their own right, I spent most of my time paying attention to the drummer, Noah Leger, who was positioned in the center and maybe a little bit back from where the bassist, Alianna Kalaba, and the guitarist and vocalist, Brian Case, were standing (stage right and left respectively). They seemed to be playing in an extremely acute triangle of which Leger was the apex. This may be due to being a percussionist myself, but it definitely felt like Leger was the center musically as well as physically. It is impossible to be bored while he plays, live or on the record. I left in a very good mood: eager to listen to their music again and eager to start making music with Victor.

I was disappointed when I went back home and eventually tried to find their music online, though. A classic gripe: none of the recordings that were available sounded anything like what I had heard at the Empty Bottle!!! As always in these situations, it was hard to be sure if I just did not like these records, or if I just did not like that they were not the songs I heard live and was trying to hear again–the absence of a specific sound deeply desired rather than the presence of another sound which may also be interesting, were I not distracted in my pursuit of the one which originally captivated me. As a result, I forgot about FACS for a while, until they dropped this new record, Void Moments.  I was very pleased when I turned it on and heard the songs from the Empty Bottle.

I loved the first two tracks of this record immediately, and then I found the rest interesting when it was playing, but the tracks did not particularly stick out as things I needed to return to. The more I listen, though, the first two tracks seem to function to bring you into the fold and kind of hypnotize you into staying there–those trippy guitars that softly wind in around 1:36 of “Teenage Hive” come and fuck your whole shit up after the immediate attack of “Boy” shocks you into submission.  I experience the rest of this record the way that I experience live shows that really make an impact on me–I am inside the music, I do not really analyze or recall the experience, but when the house lights come up, I am sobbing or I am full of joy…something has been processed or released. A lot of my greatest musical experiences seem extremely dissociative, and this is a great fucking record to dissociate to. Every time I listen to it a new song gets more of my attention. There is a lot to hear in this record, so much that I doubt it would ever become uninteresting to listen again. And that, my friends, is what great albums are made of. I highly recommend this record and seeing FACS live whenever it is allowed again.

That punch in through the side. BOY! And you’re hooked. Musicians are so manipulative.
Okay, now that you are properly hypnotized, go listen to the rest.

Note: “Teenage Hive” is featured on my highly rated spring quarantine playlist and brings the whole two and a half hour musical peregrination to a rather cathartic conclusion.

There are a few versions of this on vinyl. Mine is a hazy sky blue. Pink and blue are sold out, but you can get the classic black or any other version of any of their records here.

Now that I have actually absorbed the sounds from this record I was so hungry for, I suppose I will go back at some point and listen to the first two albums with less demanding and deprived ears. One last thing, though: at the conclusion of “Version,” you hear a pedal click off, and someone saying: “Sanford, did you record that?” (Sanford Parker is the engineer.) Yes. Always include something that makes me feel I am in the room where this is being created. Always make labor audible and visible. Always.


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