Song of the day – 356: Factory Star
It’d be nice to present this without referencing the past, but I’m not quite sure I’m up to that this morning. Sarcastic organ. Chiding vocals. Guitars that chatter away like teeth dreading the first brush of the morning. (Man, that’s crap.) Menacing organ. Abrasive guitars. Sarcastic vocals. Words that blister with the heat of the ghost of the final incarnation of The Velvet Underground. (Man, that’s crap.) Use of silence. Use of dynamics. Use of harmonics. Use of intelligence. Opening track ‘Angel Steps’ from debut album Enter Castle Perilous (which was recorded in the time left for a single) could be from Melbourne, in the nicest possible sense. Second track ‘Big Mill’ could be – and is – from Manchester, England. And that’s great. Sounds really – and I mean, really – like one of the Great Unheralded Groups of the early 80s, Blue Orchids – or possibly one of the groups that followed (and were influenced by), Inspiral Carpets (the Rugs, as we affectionately knew them) …
Knew I couldn’t do it. It’s not an insult, though. Factory Star is the work of Martin Bramah – mainstay of Blue Orchids and a name writ large in any history of The Fall you care mention. (Intriguingly, Factory Star featured the Hanley brothers for a while after they got in touch following publication of Dave Simpson’s great book The Fallen, which detailed the whereabouts of all former members of The Fall.) The entire album sounds great; not sure if it’s nostalgia talking, the thrill of forced recognition, but I like to think not, that I can still manage to retain discernment. Guitars blister like the skin on my legs after a bad night with Daniel. Vocals chide and linger. Organ rules. It’s the sound of a man comfortable in his own art. Sure, this is a sound that I have a fondness and a regard for. Sure. All that. But Bramah and friends do something with it, move it along, make it valid for 2011 and this weird young city of Brisbane.
This next ‘cover’ version is interesting. Miss the vocals, but damn – what a great song still!
Or perhaps you might want to go for this …
Sorry, got distracted.