The self-titled debut album by US/UK couple Factory Kids was a collection of shoegaze duets that gave the impression of someone singing across a frosty landscape to their other half. If one is privy to the method in which the album was constructed—by Brit Factory Kid Tim Chaplin sending bits of music to States-bound Christina Marie and vice versa—this sensation is a fitting one.
Although the One EP was recorded with both Kids in the same room, the sense of detachment still lingers. There is a brush or two of intimacy throughout the five songs, most noticeably on “One”, a clattery ode with ‘60s undertones. Even here and in the bluegaze “Holiday Crease”, the vocals still feel disembodied. This is not a criticism. It means that Factory Kids create music perfect for headphones; not ear buds, but big honking things that look like sonic ear muffs and allow you to listen for a pen rolling off a table somewhere in the studio or other tangibilities. Strap muff phones on extra tight for “New York Subway Song”, a collage of synth patches and noises that perfectly capture the eeriness of trudging through the drek of the subway on a lonely Saturday night. The song wins the honor of being the boldest sign of departure from the genre conventions of previous Factory Kids releases.
Factory Kids are still a fledgling duo, but a more assured performance—and slightly less shambolic production quality —can be easily honed in time. If the duo continues taking such large steps forward, then Factory Kids’ future could be as shiny as rays across frozen tundra.