Clash (magazine) - "Acutely minimalist, consistently ecstatic and relentlessly repetitive - the newly streamlined duo have moved further yet from a band setup and have firmly lodged themselves in the mitts of post-industrial techno."
With each of their releases, Factory Floor's evolution has come through subtraction; removing sounds -- and sometimes, members -- has allowed them to change and grow at a rapid rate. The group's second album, 25 25, is its first as a duo, with Gabriel Gurnsey and Nik Colk Void using the pared-down equipment of their live shows to create minimalist tracks that are more agile and seamless than ever. At times, 25 25 makes Factory Floor seem downright lush. Even the fuller-sounding tracks such as "Dial Me In," which resembles a svelter version of "Fall Back," are much sparser than what came before. As Factory Floor's music has gotten starker, it's also gotten harder to place: They've fused their disco, house, industrial, and techno influences into an ultra-stylized approach, while the post-punk that dominated their early work has been sublimated into an edgy willingness to play with dance traditions. Gurnsey and Void do so seamlessly and organically, thanks to 25 25's tightly restricted palette of taut beats topped with witty percussion, slurred, processed vocals and the occasional flash of a synth. There's nothing to get in the way of the groove -- the one area where Void and Gurnsey haven't cut back. The title track rides on the beat for almost two minutes before the whiff of a melody appears, while "Wave" defines the album's relentless momentum. The duo makes every sound and mood count, imbuing the music with nuances that reveal themselves with lengthy repetition. The gritty, percolating "Slow Listen" seems to arrive in full swing, immersing listeners in detailed interplay that gives the track a live feel even if Factory Floor have jettisoned the guitars and drum kit. Meanwhile, "Upper Left"'s bassline and vocals wobble like it's the end of the night and the beats can't prop them up any longer. Despite, or perhaps because of, the ruthlessness with which Factory Floor have hacked away at their music, the main emotion on display on 25 25 is a dry sense of humor. Void's arch vocals are one of the main conduits for this wryness, whether they're dueling with a tart synth motif on the aptly named "Relay," admonishing listeners to "work work work" with ultimate detachment on "Meet Me at the End," or evoking a jaded German robot on "Ya," one of the album's most engaging and amusing highlights. In its own claustrophobic, expansive, debauched, and sardonic way, 25 25 proves that less truly is more for Factory Floor. ~ Heather Phares