Never heard of The Factory? Join the club. During their heyday in the late ’80s and early ’90s I was rather preoccupied with my New Kids on the Block cassingles and trying to learn subtraction. Turns out, the band was a flash in the pan on the DC music scene, opening for Iggy Pop and The Ramones before dissolving with only a track on a compilation record to their name.
The Factory was well on their way to becoming forgotten, but DC-er and Acetate Records President Rick Ballard had kept The Factory’s demo tape he was given twenty years ago, and finally tracked down the band members online. Master tapes were found and cleaned up, and the rest is history.
Frontman Vance Bockis (9353, Pentagram, The Obsessed) has a Mick Jagger meets Johnny Thunders half-sneer/half-swagger in his voice whether he’s singing about the occasional “Puerto Rican Streetfight” or more enjoyable activities on “Love to Dance.” He’s ably supported by backing musicians that include guitarist Robbie Lymon and Bill Massey, who contributes sax to a handful of songs.
There are several highlights to be found on The Factory, most notably the insanely catchy “Love You Forever” and similarly upbeat “Girl That I Want,” while the midtempo “Misfortunate Son” tells an unhappy tale of urban life as Bockis pleads “Tell me won’t someone throw me a line/I’ve been drowning in this bottle of wine/And life don’t seem so divine/On the inside of Chocolate City.”
There are, however, a couple not-so-great tracks: the worst offender is album opener “Self-Submission,” a song that, despite some pretty cool Link Wray-esque guitar, is otherwise forgettable. But overall The Factory is an entertaining suckerpunch of a record.