ARTIST: FACTION STRUCTURE
LABEL: PERFECT POP CO-OP
1. What is Faction Structure?
2. Who is/are Faction Structure?
3. Where are Faction Structure?
All good art poses as many questions as it answers. Some questions are simple to answer, some not so simple… I’m going to start with the simple stuff – 3: Faction Structure are currently on my turntable as I write.
This is the second album from the newest act on the legendary independent record label, The Perfect Pop Co-Op. So, I suppose that covers question number 1 off. It’s not an easy album to review as it doesn’t fit comfortably (or even uncomfortably for that matter!) into any one genre or style. It’s a brew of the influences of the mysterious GAND? – who writes, sings all of the songs, and performs the vast majority of the instruments too. (That’s question 2 taken care of).
This review is not going to be a track by track analysis of ‘Circles’ ‘cos:
1) That is fucking boring.
2) I’m not qualified (i.e., I’m not some Guardian reading imbecile, with a degree in Media Studies, who writes for the N.M.E.).
Instead I’m gonna try and give you, in approximately 800 words, some kinda insight of what ‘Circles’ might be about.
Surreal but Accessible.
This is not an album to listen to whilst doing the housework or while you are on the school run. It requires your attention. You need to listen and invest in ‘Circles’ and if you do you’ll get your perks – you put the effort in and you will be rewarded with good melodies and sometimes surreal lyrics that just feel very appropriate for these bizarre times we are living in. It’s a soundtrack for the disaffected and those who feel they don’t quite fit in with modern society, people who can’t relate to deceitful political charlatans, senseless wars, the erosion of common decency, and the utter fucking boredom of sanitised, safe modern popular culture and music.
On side 2 the song ‘Soft Focus Hocus-Pocus’ has a guitar riff that would not be out of place on ‘Dirk Wears White Sox’, but the repeated lyric is obscure, vaguely surreal and nonsensical yet it kinda makes sense and fits the song seamlessly. On the other hand the song ‘Falling Asleep At My Desk’ sounds like it’s almost a mantra from Captain James T. Kirk to Scotty. What this song is about, I could only speculate and I would probably be wrong anyway. So you really need to listen yourself and make your own mind up.
Do you like Kraftwerk-esque synths and early era Adam and The Ants? You can hear those influences loud and clear on ‘Circles’ but this album is not a rehash of 80’s synth-pop and new wave. It takes GANDS? musical influences, shakes them up, mixes them about a bit until something new and fresh emerges. For example, the 2nd track on the album ‘Face You See On Saturdays’ has a great analogue sounding synth line reminiscent of Depeche Mode in their early days, but it’s not some mere throwaway 80’s tribute track.
The track ‘Dependency’ may be a song about drug or booze abuse – alternatively, in these social media obsessed times we live in it could equally be about people who are addicted to, and measure their self worth by, their Twitter friends and likes. On this track GAND?’s delivery sounds something a bit like Adam Ant on the Ant’s first album: maybe Mr Ant IS an influence on GAND? Who can tell for certain? But what is for sure is that while the vocal delivery may be familiar the song most certainly is not.
Dark but Warm.
‘Circles’ is not some ‘fun’, lightweight pop album, it’s dark, cloaked and alternative. But on the title track itself, ’Skin On Skin’ and ‘No One Can Stop You’ there are some nice juxtapositions with some incidental vocals from the enigmatic ‘Tiggy-Pop’ and some tightly grooved bass lines from Dan K. Brown. It’s one of the many clever things about the record: the contributions of Pop and Brown provide a nice counterpoint to GAND?’s stream of dark, disenfranchised consciousness.”
– BIG M 2022
** After you have read this review, go to page 34 of In the Club for an exclusive interview with GAND?
*Circles is released on 15.04.2023
*** If you have a record or a gig you would like reviewed for
the next edition of ‘In The Club’ email: email@example.com