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.