4 out of 5
Label: Trouble In Mind
Produced by: John Congleton
When 90 Day Men kinda sorta morphed into Disappears, I kinda sorta wanted to hate them. Because I loved 90 Day Men, and that Disappears went into a krautrock / minimalist direction, and then picked up a Sonic Youth member – not a band I’ve ever been able to get much traction with – felt like they were retreating into indie rock trends and familiarity. I know this was all snap judgment, but it’s how my brain processed things, and my need to stay on top of what the group was doing dimmed. Their final release, Irreal, was promising, though, and that carried over to the next iteration of FACS.
But I know I’ve been on guard, still waiting for some slip (as I view it) back into Disappears territory, not able to accept that FACS was forging their own identity. Their first two releases kind of kept me straddling that line.
Void Moments feels like a purposeful, pointed response to me, kicking me off that line. I’m now sold.
As Negative Houses and Lifelike felt accurately named, exploring / defining space and posturing, respectively, Void Moments captures a feeling of almost-there sensations – right at the precipice of realization, and then it disappears… no pun intended. Yes, this does ultimately prevent the album from ringing out with an ultimate moment – a single; a standout burst; a turning point – but it also means that we’re kept, tantalizingly, on that edge throughout, transfixed by a sound that parades through ghostly beats and then turns on the intensity, trading back and forth between these with some interestingly named noise experiments – Version, a track called Lifelike – bridging the gaps. It is an absolutely haunting album, allowing FACS more “live” sound swirl through the group’s outre take on 90 Days’ eventual spacey-prog and Disappears minimalism; this is the summary of all of those influences (and, as always, not to suggest that the other band members not from those bands aren’t bringing perspectives in as well), finally allowed to congeal into a group that feels past its pasts, making music that almost dares to be pop and then gleefully reels towards sound attack anarchy.
(Interesting that the next album would be called In A Present Tense.)