Ringmaster Reviews the forthcoming debut album
Faction Structure – Buyin’ Into Fantasy
Of many words which can be applied to our encounters with record label/radio show/magazine/creative collaboration Perfect Pop Co-Op, surprising and predictable stand tall. The first is a perpetual experience as year by year projects and releases through them have ignited the imagination and courted the passions like few others with varying but constant success. It may vary from encounter to encounter and will for each listener but the people behind it all seem to tap into the instinctive wants we certainly have here. The second of the two adjectives arises because of the first, a relentless challenging and sparking of that same imagination we now simply expect. The newest release from them is no exception, Buyin’ Into Fantasy a record which caught assumptions unaware, took them to fresh and stimulating acceptance searching places yet all the while left us greedily devouring all within its vinyl brought walls.
The release is the debut full-length from Faction Structure and the first in a quintet of albums from the newest member of the Perfect Pop Co-Op family. Its creator is GAND?, a protagonist of sound and invention as familiar as he is unique. A solo project seeing its creator on all instruments and creation though bassist Dan K Brownfrom the FIXX and guitarist ‘Kid’ Jordan guest on the album which has been co-produced by Steve Honest with GAND?, Buyin’ Into Fantasy is an experimental adventure borne of a world in turbulence amid apathetic subservience which in some ways is almost self-perpetuated by the deceit carrying up risings seemingly against it. It is a protagonist bred in apocalyptic anxiety and discontent, one born even before the covid pandemic came along to highlight all its grievance and observations.
How to describe the project’s sound? Old wave disco-rock has been used but truly it is a boldly individual amalgam of flavours past, present and newly imagined. It is art pop, post punk, experimental punk, avant-new wave…the list could continue but what emerges is a character of invention and breath of sound purely Faction Structure.
Side A of the record opens with I Spy A Sign, a track sauntering in from the distance with a belligerently wiry guitar groove. As quickly the words and tones GAND? provoke further temptation, thoughts and ears incited by the slow swing of his vocal reflection. With a great gnarly bassline, flames of brass and a pop nurtured catchiness which invades every aspect of its creative and emotional dissonance, the song effortlessly had body and imagination on board, a seventies glam rock hue adding to the warped tapestry of sound.
So This is England follows, its entrance even more unhurried almost ponderous with a rhythmic stroll just as leaden. Yet it too is inherently infectious, its weighty thought and sway swiftly under the skin as a web of sounds and flavours conspire in its emerging incalculable landscape. Ears found a great John Otway-esque essence to the song as vocals joined the resignation fuelled fanfare of the song while The Sweetnessstraight after provokes hints of bands such as Blancemange and Dalek I Love You within its rousing romp yet equally has Residents like darkness and menace to ignite the demons and creative animation of the track further.
From one major favourite moment to another as next up Anxieties Faction Structure springs its disco seeded enterprise into a post punk, cinematic soundtrack honed landscape of doubt and unease. Squirts of brass like electronics caught the imagination with Essential Logic like invention yet as in all tracks any reference we give merely gives a hint to the bodies of sound shaping each song. With its great esurient nagging and moments of graceful warmth not forgetting the webs of irregular temptation, side one is brought to one compelling close.
The Faction Structure moniker comes from a David Bowie interview for Mojo Magazine in 2002 about his hugely influential Diamond Dogs LP, a quote reflecting an apocalyptic breath within the world at the time which remains so apt in a time thatBuyin’ Into Fantasy now explores and there is a definite Bowie essence to the album’s title track. The Side B opener is another drawing on that seventies glam rock inspiration, its aberrant funk swing and infestation of rhythm hungry eighties alt-pop quickly proving addictive. At times it plays like a mix of Swell Maps warping Heaven 17, again the multi-varied and uniquely adventurous incitement of the album being escalated.
Delays of Layered Greys provide a dystopian disco for ears and body to unite with but one courted by industrial dark shadows and emotional paranoia bred of post punk heart and cynicism. In many ways it bears low key provocation yet is mercilessly infectious, like Joy Division infused with early Human League aberration while the superb When I Can’t See The Light expresses its psychosis like Fad Gadget caught in the erosive pleasure of The Mekons, its virulent orchestration and intimate irritancy proving increasingly irresistible.
The Escalator To Nowhere concludes the release, it a slow moving almost predacious provoking of thought and attention. It’s bent out of shape dynamics and matching rapacious inclinations cast a web of thick enticement around the imagination, a masterful lure echoed in its breath of escape though there is no eluding the shadows which also lurk.
It is a compelling end to a record which gripped ears and imagination like no other this year. Though not pandemic inspired it does echo the aspects of darkness and dispute all have felt but primarily it is an echo of the world before and around it through knowing intimacy. More so it is an adventure of sound and enterprise which got under the skin in no time and left us greedy for the pleasure sparked and despite all the hints we gave in artist comparisons it is truly one unique and especial exploration.
Buyin’ Into Fantasy is planned for an early 2022 release with its first single expected later this year. Keep up to date with Faction Structure @…
Pete RingMaster 09/11/2021
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