FACS – Lifelike

The Chicago based trio FACS has released their third album via Trouble in Mind Records. The band was founded in 2017 from the ashes of The Disappears. Alianna Kalaba joined in as bassist with Brian Case and Noah Leger on guitars and drums. There’s something unique about Void Moments that sets it apart from the rest of its peers. While characterizing the bleakness and raw energy of post-punk, FACS has transcended their sound, deliberately arranging this 6 track collection with the precision and finesse that you can only find from masters of their craft. From the mixing to production, everything is flawless, clearly inspired by a coherent vision and made with the expertise that comes with time. 

Void Moments has a soundscape that grips you in and takes you to an unsettling atmosphere. There’s an array of electronic, mechanical, industrial and digital sounds used here that’s placed in tight detail, like how you would arrange an orchestra. 

“Boy” starts it off with a claustrophobic vibe, as the panning of the sounds feel like someone breathing down your neck (especially with headphones). It evokes an authority figure letting you know your place. The drums are militaristic and urgent like the marching of a SWAT team that’s pacing towards your door. The wailing guitars repeat in sequence, an alarm warning you to obey.

“Teenage Hive” is a tight artpiece, with Case’s lo-fi vocals and angular guitars that stay straight before careening into wild edges and intersections. Leaving you disoriented as the line “No direction” repeats throughout the song. We go into a more subdued and meditative direction with “Casual Indifference”. The rhythm is steady and the guitars are sparse, with ghostly vocals that move in and out of focus. The line “Playing around with… different sexes”, is a reflection of love’s indifference to orientation.

The next two tracks are the centerpieces, given the largest space in the gallery at 6 minutes each. “Version” is dark and foreboding. It drones with buzzing guitars and industrial drums. There is a slight hint of organic rainmaker sounds that overlap the artificial beats, but it stays only for a moment as the drums descend into chaos, defying time signature and taking along all the instruments with it into a spiraling void of noise. Which then takes us to “Void Walker”, the drums are now more dynamic, leading an aural atmosphere that’s hollow. The vocals sit on top of the mix and the words are vaguely incoherent as we go deeper and deeper to a dark abyss.

The last two tracks are mostly instrumentals. “Lifelike” is a hypnotic arrangement of buzz saws and frenetic percussion, while the closer “Dub Over” is more atmospheric with swirling electronics that evoke the feeling of being suspended in zero gravity. Add in the sparse robotic vocals and you’re on a trip to the Tannhauser Gates.

FACS has stretched the boundaries of rock with Void Moments and letting us know there is more to discover. Listeners and creators alike should pay attention.


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