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I can't thank Rick Ballard (owner of Acetate Records) enough for releasing this marvellous compilation of THE FACTORY. Hailing from Washington D.C., THE FACTORY were part of the local punk scene in the late-1980's, but unlike most other D.C. bands, THE FACTORY had nothing to do with hardcore. Rock 'n' roll was the name of the game and they referred to bands like New York Dolls, Dead Boys or The Rolling Stones and played shows together with Iggy Pop and The Ramones. At this time, they captured the attention of many people due to their energetic live gigs. This was due, among other things, to vocalist Vance Bockis who formerly was in Pentagram, The Obsessed as well as 9353. So, if you want to find out more about that exciting period of time, then I recommend reading the interview (click here) I did with Vance a few months ago.

Unfortunately THE FACTORY never managed to record a proper album before they broke-up in the early 1990's. In other words the band shared the same fate as other great bands such as Rocket From The Tombs or The Penetrators just to name a few. All that was left was a buch of demos and if FACTORY bassist Scott Sartorius hadn't located the master tapes, then this band would have almost faded into oblivion. Not to forget Rick Ballard who released these songs. So this compilation comprises of ten tracks which have been recorded between 1985 and 1986. What I noticed immediately was the very good sound quality of the music. Here we have professional recordings and I was surprised to see that THE FACTORY has worked together, among other things, with Don Zientara, who is well-known for producing all bands of Dischord Records. Therefore, it is logical that THE FACTORY recorded the first five cuts in Zientara's legendary Inner Ear Studios.

In spite of their obvious influences, THE FACTORY have been able to create their own blend of dangerous charm and rock 'n' roll. This can be put down to three reasons: Vance Bockis' unmistakable and snotty voice, a talent for writing highly memorable songs as well as an additional saxophone player who appears in most of the tracks. That is why THE FACTORY is much more than the sum of its individual parts. They didn't try to revive the 1970's but have rather made the tranfer into the 1980's. One of the best tracks of the first demo is 'Self-Submission' that can only be described with one word: killer! That is high energy rock 'n' roll as it should be. The following four tracks are remarkably calmer and especially 'Misfortunate Son' reminds me of Johnny Thunders. It wouldn't be out of place on Thunders' first solo record 'So Alone', and that is meant as a compliment.

In contrast, 'Ecstasy' is less melancholic and spreads an uplifting feel whereas the New York Dolls would have been proud of 'Girl That I Want'. Overall, THE FACTORY unfolds a rich panoply of emotions here. After listening to this compilation over and over again, it's really astonishing that these cats have never managed to land a record deal. Maybe it had something to do with their uncompromising lifestyle, but that's pure speculation. The fact is, however, that THE FACTORY will release a new album in 2012, and this is to be welcomed. To summarize, these ten songs stand the test of time and if you dig heartfelt rock 'n' roll with plenty of attitude then this cool compilation should be included in your music collection. A further bonus is the booklet which contains a lot of old photos, old newspaper articles as well as informative liner notes by Rick Ballard.