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FACS

FACS

Present Tense

    Chicago trio’s fourth album in four years (ex-Disappears).

    Recorded at Electrical Audio by Sanford Parker

    Chicago trio FACS never stop pushing forward; they’ve honed and refined their stark, minimal scrape and clatter for four years and counting, having risen out of the ashes of beloved Chicago band Disappears in 2018 with the bone-rattling intensity of Negative Houses. The trio return in 2021 with Present Tense, their fourth album and perhaps their sharpest statement as a band.

    Opener “XOUT” barrels forward like a tank, with Case’s guitar chiming like warning bells, until the climax comes crashing down, glitching out near the close. “Strawberry Cough” comes next, its fusion of corporeal playing and stately, electronic heartbeats punctured by random bursts of noise or backwards masked sounds. “Alone Without”, a track originally recorded for Adult Swim’s 2020 singles

    series appears next in different form; more menacing and serpentine. Side two opens with “General Public”, taking the loud/quiet dynamic as a jumping off point for the song’s unsettling seasick vibe. ‘How To See In the Dark” offers a brief respite, with its persistent, dark quietude that lingers until the song’s end. “Present Tense”, the album’s title track, offers up its first truly weird moment mid-song when the song changes mood distinctly, and the music drops out save for Case’s guitar and vocals. The album’s final track, the densely packed “Mirrored”, begins with a restrained, post-rock shuffle. The mind-scrambling cacophony that comes next takes its time to roll in, but once it does, it comes in waves, flipping back onto itself multiple times until it’s folded into oblivion.

    FACS once again shuttered themselves into Electrical Audio with lauded engineer Sanford Parker to lay down the basic tracks and overdubs for Present Tense. This time, the band approached their songwriting from a different angle “Alone Without was the first song we recorded and we really built it in the studio” Case says, “Alianna and I played different instruments, and I think that freedom

    informed how the other songs developed. All the lyrics were random phrases on a big sheet and were put together as the songs took shape, so I feel like I was collecting these thoughts and trying to figure out how to process them as a big picture vs making complete ideas in individual songs.” Case adds ”...letting the songs go where they wanted, without steering them into what we all think a FACS

    album should be.” The change is palpable from last year’s claustrophobic and fried Void Moments, but Present Tense is still ALL FACS, albeit draped in a layer of haze. Paranoia in soft focus, perhaps?

    TRACK LISTING

    1. XOUT
    2. Strawberry Cough
    3. Alone Without
    4. General Public
    5. How To See In The Dark
    6. Present Tense
    7. Mirrored

    FACS

    Void Moments

      Chicago trio’s third album (ex-Disappears). Chicago trio FACS have evolved very quickly in the span of their three year existence. "Void Moments" is their third & latest off¬ering; a dark & claustrophobic album with rivulets of seismic beauty peeking through the din. Formed in the wake of the dissolution of Disappears, guitarist Brian Case & drummer Noah Leger's project is the logical continuation of the trails blazed in their former outfit. Since their 2017 debut "Negative Houses", the band have reworked, retooled & reshaped their sound, and with the addition of bassist Alianna Kalaba on 2018's "Lifelike", their evolution has coalesced into something distinct. Gone is the bone-rattling minimalism of "Negative Houses"; "Void Moments" o¬ffers an abstraction of the melodic elements that crept into "Lifelike" and contorts them toward a new horizon.

      Where "Lifelike" rang with a metallic, near-industrial racket, "Void Moments" cloaks the music behind a black velvet curtain of sonance, obfuscating the band's most direct set of songs to date. "Boy" kicks o¬ with a lurch of vocals and Case's sinewy guitar-line guiding a stoic march. By the time Kalaba drops in with the bass, the track morphs into a milky swirl, leading into the chiming swirl of "Teenage Hive’s buzzing churn. "Casual Indiff¬erence" expertly fuses the band's rhythmic pulse with a sombre dissolve of guitars, vocals and backwards-masked drums. "Version" closes out side one with lush surges of Case's shoegaze'd guitar & voice weaving around the rhythm section. Side two careens in with Leger's cavernous drums, with Kalaba and Case riding alongside.

      The album's final two tracks "Lifelike" and "Dub Over" cascade into one another, becoming one & act as a perfect analogy to "Void Moments" mutability, both musically & lyrically. Despite its foggy presence, "Void Moments" still careens toward the light. By embracing fluidity, FACS continue to evolve & refuse to be ensnared by genre. "Void Moments" ruminates on humanity's increasing refusal of identity, not only by our increasing reliance on technology, but also within our society's challenging of societal & gender norms. "Void Moments" feels one step closer to oblivion, but its sounds are a welcome salve

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Boy
      2. Teenage Hive
      3. Casual Indifference
      4. Version
      5. Void Walker
      6. Lifelike
      7. Dub Over

      FACS

      Negative Houses

        FACS sprung forth in early 2017 , Brian Case, Jonathan van Herik & Noah Leger were formerly of Chicago band Disappears. "Negative Houses" is their debut recording; an abstraction of their former outfit, even more minimal and bare than what came before. "Negative Houses" approaches the stark, gothy post-punk previously perfected more rhythmically and abstract than in Disappears, with Leger's motorik, machine-like drumming taking the forefront (see the tunes 'Skylarking' and 'Others') and van Herik's guitar alternating between slashes of dissonant ambience and percussive accent. Case switches from guitar to bass in FACS, adding an economical throb to the band's drive on songs like 'Just A Mirror' & the album's centerpiece, the near nine-minute, sax-soaked tour-de-force 'Houses Breathing', whose electric heartbeat lumbers forward, sounding like an outtake from Cold Storage Studios circa 1979. 

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Skylarking
        2. Silencing
        3. Houses Breathing
        4. Just A Mirror
        5. Others
        6. Primary
        7. Exit Like You
        8. All Futures


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