27 Mar 2015
Black Fruit / Factotum "Split 2"
Reviewed by Maggie Danna
Black Fruit/Factotum "Split 2" is an energetic, diverse garage record, second in Stolen Body Records’ split LP series. Black Fruit opens up the album, delivering a dark mutation of high-energy surf garage punk. They are a great example of an awesome surf-inspired band coming out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, as are Heaters whose album "Solstice" I reviewed a couple weeks ago. Black Fruit’s spooky, vibrato–tinged baritone vocals really remind me of The Wytches, and are simultaneously wistful and vivacious. A touch of blues is felt in the band’s strong walking bass lines and infectious rhythms. “Letter” is a particularly well-crafted track about lost love with a rough yet catchy guitar jangle, a mournfully sung, melancholic melody, and pounding percussion. The song even has a bit of a 1950s pop feel to it, though it is certainly much darker.
Bristol, UK garage punk Factotum’s contribution is heavy, often verging on metal while covering an incredible range of genres and styles over the course of their five songs. “All My Friends Like Garage” combines intense vocals over a space rock wall of sound interjected with guitar feedback. The track closes with an upbeat, music box-esque melody. There’s a bit of jazz in “The Place I Go,” which alternates between smooth guitar, intense percussion, and metal vocals, with electronic instrumental chaos at the end. “The Place I Go” has a touch of funk, fluctuating between frantic guitar shredding and experimental instrumentals and percussion. The finale, “Loose Cannon Cops With Big Fat Heroin Hands,” is calm and delicate with eerie yet comfortingly dreamy reverbing kazoo swoops, soft female vocals, and guitar plucks. “Loose Cannon Cops With Big Fat Heroin Hands” is extremely reminiscent of Gong, especially their song “Glad to Sad to Say” from "Magick Brother". Though way more laid-back than the rest of the album and highly ethereal, it perfectly fits the mood as it brings the album to a close.
If you have even the slightest liking for garage rock, I highly recommend checking out Black Fruit and Factotum; both bands are impressively innovative and deeply satisfying.
Vinyl available here. Digital available below: