Chicago trio FACS never stop pushing forward; they’ve honed and refined their stark, minimal scrape and clatter for four years and counting, having risen out of the ashes of Disappears in 2018 with the bone-rattling intensity of Negative Houses. The trio return in 2021 with Present Tense, their fourth album and perhaps their sharpest statement as a band.
FACS once again shuttered themselves into Electrical Audio with lauded engineer Sanford Parker to lay down the basic tracks and overdubs for Present Tense. This time, the band approached their songwriting from a different angle “Alone Without was the first song we recorded and we really built it in the studio” Case says, “Alianna and I played different instruments, and I think that freedom informed how the other songs developed. All the lyrics were random phrases on a big sheet and were put together as the songs took shape, so I feel like I was collecting these thoughts and trying to figure out how to process them as a big picture vs making complete ideas in individual songs.”
Case adds ”…letting the songs go where they wanted, without steering them into what we all think a FACS album should be.” The change is palpable from last year’s claustrophobic and fried Void Moments, but Present Tense is still ALL FACS, albeit draped in a layer of haze. Paranoia in soft focus, perhaps?
FACS are guitarist Brian Case, drummer Noah Leger and bassist Alianna Kalaba.