45 years of incubation, Factory finally felt that the world was ready
to hear the band’s musical creations. With the help of that Internet
thingy, Andy, Lol, Tone and Jaffa reconnected as the original lineup of
the band. They confessed that they had each always wanted to reunite to
record an album and play live together.
As Andy was stuck in LA (poor chap,) the other three started rehearsing from the summer of 2014. In March 2015, Andy crossed the pond and the band spent a week in an undisclosed location somewhere in France for intense rehearsals after which they played an emotional gig in a bar nearby, Andy then returned to the US.
That October, Factory resurfaced in the UK as a four-piece again. After a few days of rehearsal, they entered Broadoak Studios. Under the guidance of the all-knowing Harvey Summers, they proceeded to record the long awaited album. All the songs had been performed during Factory’s first incarnation (1970-76) and were faithfully remembered and relearned using old studio reel-to-reels and a cassette tape of a 1974 live gig recorded in Peterborough UK found in various cellars and attics.
You can get the album now online at CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and at our upcoming gigs!
Now, here's Andy's track-by-track take on the album:
Back... serves as an intro to the album, suggesting the sounds of Factory's time machine in full flight! A remix of the new version of Factory's best-known song, Time Machine, taking us "back in the time machine" to a piece of the original 1971 recording.
Call of the Wild bursts right in with the full force of Factory. Originally conceived as a live set opener, you can tell right away this a band that means business. It features lyrics full of positive messages, vocal harmonies, 6 & 12-string guitars, and thundering drums and bass.
Castle On The Hill has a more folk-rock feel, with tinkly guitar sounds, and a story inspired by a view of Hastings Castle. Factory originally recorded this song in 1971, as the B-side of Time Machine. At that time there were just two verses, and the song took 18 minutes to write. 45 years later a new verse was added, so the song finally took about 45 years and 18 minutes to write!
is another rocker, originally featuring the violin. When the band
reformed in 2015, Tony hadn't played the violin in decades, so while he
was getting back to speed on it, he played guitar instead at
rehearsals. By the time of recording, he could play equally well on
either instrument, so in fact ended up playing both! What a sound!
Angel From The Sky is another up-tempo song, already becoming very popular, thanks to its newly-released video. This song sums Factory up perfectly - all the band showing off their instrumental skills and vocal harmonies, on an exciting and catchy song.
Amulci is a slightly quirky song about an ancient Egyptian rat catcher. (You don't hear that every day!) Musically it has a foot in Prog Rock, and the band definitely has some playing to do, but it has a driving beat you can tap your foot to.
Tonight's The Night brings us back to straight ahead pop-rock, with harmony vocals, and also harmonies between the 6 and 12-string guitars and the 4-string bass, and some Hammond for good measure.
Scarlet Lady is a song that has been described as "classy pop". Swirling keyboards and vocal harmonies, with twin lead vocals alternating between falsetto and full voice. The verses have an unusual time signature, but the band handle this so smoothly that it's hardly noticeable.
Am I Dreaming, Am I Mad has Factory back in Prog-land. It's a song in two halves. The first half starts with a jazzy feel, and then goes through a few changes and has a more thoughtful feel. The second half rocks, with classical chords and great vocal harmonies.
Lol's Jig is a tune written by Laurie, which originally just featured Tony on the violin. By the time Factory reformed, Jaffa had learned to play the button accordion, which he added as well.
Lady Muck is an out and out rocker, with a heavy guitar riff, overdriven Hammond, and more thundering bass and drums. Unusually for this kind of song, it is laced with soaring vocal harmonies. (FYI, Lady Muck is British slang for a female who thinks and acts like she's something, but really isn't).
I'll Sing You A Song almost sounds like a traditional Irish folk-song, but is actually an original by Tony, featuring his amazing violin playing. It has a great call and response chorus, and goes through a few changes, all of which have a great beat for dancing. It's always a favourite part of the live set.
Howard is Factory's epic tour-de-force. A long song brilliantly conceived by Jaffa, and featuring just about everything the band is about. Starting with solo electric 12-string guitar, it builds through several changes and moods, from mouse-quiet to full-on rocking! Great lead vocals, harmonies, drumming, bass playing, guitar playing, layered keyboards, it all adds up to a very impressive track. As a bonus, we have what may be the first example of the sound of crying on a rock song, thanks to Laurie's acting skills!
As The Crow Flies has a more simple, folky sound with "love song" lyrics. Originally this was a song Factory did only to fill in time when Tony broke a string. When they recorded a version at Roger Daltrey's studio in the early days, Tony added slide guitar. For this he used one of Pete Townshend's guitars, which was hanging on the wall. When the band first went there, the neck was hanging off it, but it had since been repaired enough that it could be used. By the time of the new recording, although Tony had again played slide guitar, Andy had thought of a melody for the solo, which he persuaded Tony to play on the violin.
Time Machine was always the climax of Factory's set, and was their best-known song. It is full of excitement, with Tony's guitar riffs and solos, Jaffa's wonderfully original bass playing, Laurie's drums sounding like he must have two sets of limbs, and Andy producing vocal sounds previously only heard from robots! There is nowhere to go by the end of this track, except back...in the time machine!