Factory Brains — Down the River (Single Review)

Down the River

The biggest selling point for the Swedish band Factory Brains is their relatively young age. Despite having two albums already under their belts, the boys got together while still in secondary school and are now only experiencing the first few, confusing years of their 20s. This is, however, a mistake: compared to what the youths of today have been doing, these guys can easily claim a more mature work and, by consequence, public.

Yes, there are a few giveaways to their lack of experience, but nothing to diminish the merits Factory Brains have for trying to take down a stereotype. The more blatant one (other than the callow, baby-faced front-man Niclas you see in the video) is their directness. Subtlety is something that only comes with age, and their raging sincerity is absolutely appropriate as long as they do not try to mask it under artistic choices. Because then they become mere hipsters.

In the beautifully filmed video for the single ‘Down the River’ the only thing subtle is Niclas’ mumbles halfway through it. The story couldn’t be more open, with the character acquiring and giving away belongings as he strolls alongside the stream. Again, nothing wrong with that — providing you can understand the poetic licence in exchanging a dog for a bicycle, — though for the more experienced viewer the sentiment is that more could have been accomplished with the material. But they’ll get there soon enough.

To sum up, ‘Down the River’ is worth a watch or two. If not for its great photography, at least for the song itself. Much like the album it’s in, Hard Labor, released in February last, what they did with it was transmit the necessary passion in a relaxing environment. It is a timeless piece of music made by someone who’s got the whole time ahead to evolve and improve on it. Keep an eye on the Factory Brains.

P.S.: Being young and all is OK, but why would someone throw away a perfectly good toothpick? That itself shows how much these guys still have to grow up.