Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)
Powering through their fourth album with a primal urgency, Chicago post-punks FACS have fully embraced their dystopian side. On Present Tense, guitarist and vocalist Brian Case charts a course through a labyrinth of influences, from Curtis Mayfield and Roxy Music to My Bloody Valentine and Dehd. Opening track “XOUT” is a clamorous post-punk anthem, with Case’s vocals sparring with Noah Leger’s jabbing cymbals. Lead single “Strawberry Cough,” a nod to the weed strain puffed and passed throughout the 2006 sci-fi epic Children of Men, radiates paranoia and dizziness with its motorik rhythm, churning guitar, and talk of an ominous “spectral threat.”
FACS’ music has always had an ominous quality, thanks to Case’s terse, abstract lyrics and a mood that mirrors the decaying global climate. He takes that even further here through the use of Dadaist cut-up techniques; he plucked the lyrics to all seven songs from a paper sheet hanging in Electrical Audio, where the LP was recorded. From the catastrophic revelations of “XOUT” “(“War/ World of interiors/ Summon your future”) to the soft entreaties of “Alone Without” (“Try to remember/ Your other laugh/ The one you used for family/ The one you use when alone”), the dark undercurrents whirling throughout Present Tense could swallow the damned world whole. Rather than dwell on their past triumphs or contemplate a rosier future, FACS have found inspiration in the grim absurdities of the here and now.