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Alternative & Indie - Released March 30, 2018 | Trouble In Mind Records

Facs' Negative Houses is a debut album with a lot of history behind it. The trio formed from the ashes of Chicago experimentalists Disappears, who spent the better part of the 2010s honing their hypnotic yet explosive rock. When bassist Damon Carruesco left to concentrate on his visual art and his electronic project Tüth, the other members -- vocalist/guitarist Brian Case, guitarist Jonathan Van Herik, and drummer Noah Leger -- gave their time-tested chemistry a new perspective as Facs. Recorded just a few months after they became a separate entity from Disappears, Negative Houses is often a logical progression from that band's output. With its fiery distortion, "Exit Like You" could have easily appeared on Era or Irreal. However, there are many more moments where Facs subtly but notably distinguish themselves from their past. Working with longtime engineer John Congleton, they don't just sound cool -- they sound cold. A glassy sheen coats their music's ever-starker and darker spaces on the excellent opener "Skylarking," where they hold the tension of its booming drums and ticking guitars like an uncomfortably long stare. From there, Facs get even more adventurous with their use of negative space. The album's nearly-nine-minute centerpiece "Houses Breathing," which pits the rhythm section's undertow against a snarling saxophone, is a study in eerie minimalism with roots in Disappears' reworking of David Bowie's classic album, Low: Live in Chicago. Similarly, the chiming, rolling "Silencing" feels like a direct descendant of Wire at their most introspective. While Negative Houses remains intense on whispery exercises in texture and tension like "Just a Mirror" and "Others," Facs truly come into their own on more dynamic, melodic moments such as "All Futures," a finale so suspenseful it sounds like it was recorded on the edge of a cliff. Given that Van Herik left Facs soon after this album was recorded, Negative Houses is a portrait of the band at a very specific moment in their evolution. Nevertheless, it's ample proof that these long-standing collaborators still sound fresh. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 29, 2019 | Trouble In Mind Records

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Facs is a band with such a distinctive style that any change to it -- no matter how small -- makes a significant difference. On Lifelike, they make some subtle yet notable shifts, starting with their lineup: The trio's second album is its first recorded with bassist Alianna Kalaba, who joined shortly after the departure of founding guitarist Jonathan Van Herik. It's also the first Facs album with singer/songwriter Brian Case on guitar, the instrument he played in his previous band with drummer Noah Leger, Disappears. Case's return to six strings is a welcome reminder of how ferocious his playing can be; on the closing track, "Total History," his strumming is so brisk that it practically sparks the guitar inferno that engulfs the song's second half. It also allows the band to embellish on the post-punk blueprint they established on 2018's Negative Houses, adding more melody as well as more experimentation. For many bands, a more melodic approach might mean a more straightforward sound, but that's not the case with Facs. The trio leans into abstraction on Lifelike, blurring the boundaries between post-rock and post-punk and trading ideas with a dexterity that approaches jazz. Facs use their newfound melodicism to heighten the emotional complexity of their music, particularly on the highlight "In Time." "Time moves/When you do/I am in between," Case intones over warping guitars that throw his words into a new light with each undulation; is he left behind or liberated? Though it's the first Facs song to feature a traditional four-chord progression, it's not obvious -- instead, it lends a strange nostalgic undercurrent, as though the ghost of a pop song lurks within it somewhere. While Case's return to guitar is welcome, Lifelike also provides plenty of showcases for Leger and Kalaba. The only thing more startling than "Another Country"'s windchime-like guitars is just how massive Leger's drums sound; later, his prodding, processed beats lend focus to "Loom State"'s hovering paranoia. On "XUXA," Kalaba's bass grounds Case's swooping tones and Leger's rolling toms in melodic warmth that's almost felt more than heard. Elegant, unusual touches like these suggest Facs are still finding new complexities in their music on Lifelike, an album that demands and rewards close listening. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 23, 2018 | Trouble In Mind Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 11, 2019 | Trouble In Mind Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 30, 2018 | Trouble In Mind Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 5, 2019 | Trouble In Mind Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 10, 2017 | Trouble In Mind Records