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Floor is a very interesting band. Take your typical stoner/doom band. Lyrics are usually weed related or influenced, songs have an emphasis on the groove/atmosphere and they play at a slow pace. Usually down tuned guitars and bass with an emphasis on the low end. Songs can meander on, with riffs being repeated many times. Now take pop music. Usually upbeat, chock full of peppy melodies and clean singing. Songs usually around 3 minutes. Lyrics usually about love and partying among other things. Now combine them. Strange? Not as strange as you would think (if you like that kind of stuff that is). Short songs, heavy down tuned guitars, clean vocal melodies, groovy riffs. Its the perfect combination for a person (like me) who likes strange combinations
If I was to compare Floor to a single band however it would be Melvins. The influence is uncanny but mostly because of the guitar tone and off kilter drumming reminiscent of Dale Crover. Unlike the Melvins the songs are not all over the place and the songs are more refined. The first 20 seconds of this album pretty much sums up most of the guitar riffs. Droning downtuned riffs that are heavy but clean. The drums are very laid back and are not all over the place. The bass blends in with the mix and the vocals create melodies on top of the droning sounds underneath. With songs lengths around 2 and a half minutes a song, it goes by quickly without dragging on and the songs have a good amount of variation to keep the listener interested.
Songs differ from upbeat songs that last a minute long to an hypnotic mellow groove. Songs like Twink, Kallisti-Song for Eris and Ein (Below and Beyond) are showcase the bands vocal harmonies as well as the happy sounding jams they can make. Songs like Iron Girls, Scimiter and Night Full of Knicks show how incredibly heavy this band can be while still retaining that sing along pop sound. They also experiment with some noise on various songs which adds a bit of variation. The album clocks in at around half and hour and that is the perfect length. If there were two more songs I probably wouldn't like it as much because as great as this is it starts to become a tad bit repetitive but it ends before it becomes annoying/a chore to listen to.
If you like stoner or doom metal or enjoy Melvins you should check this out. They recently got back together and are recording a new album so go see them on tour or check out Torche the band they started after this.
Here we have Floor, the band before Torche and as far as I know, a band that helped define the “sludge-pop” genre that Torche continues to play. Down-tuned, stoner-ish riffs with “pop” vocals. I’m not sure if I agree too much with the pop sentiments placed on this album, sure they’re clean vocals but they just sound like singing to me. Maybe this comes from the catchy vocal lines lead vocalist / guitarist Steve Brooks delivers. While the vocals themselves may not be pop sounding to me, I do wish the lyrics for these albums were somewhere because damn, do I wanna sing along. Definitely Floor’s best effort, a ton better than the weak release Dove, and I’d even go as far to say as it’s better than Torche’s self-titled album as it has a more straight-forward sound and isn’t quite as boring.
I say “isn’t quite as boring” because there are in fact a few boring parts on this album. Sometimes the riffs go on for too long, and while they’re good and heavy, it gets a bit repetitive. This band does know how to spice things up though; they’ve got pretty unique sound that I’ve yet to hear in anything Steve Brooks wasn’t somehow related to. Not to mention their insane use of the “bomb tuning,” which is where they essentially tune the low E string on their guitars so far down it’s no longer a note, and is just this massive distorted flub. I realize how shitty that sounds in concept, but when they actually do it, it’s pretty amazing. I’ve never heard a guitar go that low. They do go into the realm of pretty, almost post-rock sections but those are pretty scarce and don’t last for long. It’s not just “let’s only use our bottom strings,” either. As heavy as this album might be, they use a lot of harmonized guitar lines that make it sound really upbeat. It’s a great use of major key that surprisingly works well; it’s not sad sludge so maybe that’s where the “pop” comes from. As for drumming, there isn’t much to mention. The guy gets the job done, no complaints but he’s nothing special. He knows how to speed it up for the happy sludge moments. The bass work is just as heavy as the guitars and they function relatively well together, putting out some slow, stoner doom jams that coincide rather well with the vocals.
That’s another thing, the vocals. On this album, the vocals are so much better than on Dove. I’m pretty sure on Dove he hadn’t discovered he could actually sing at that point, because it’s mostly full of weird yelps and crap, but on this album they’d fully developed their sound. He delivers some nice clean lines, and while often compared to pop music vocals, I see it more as a deeper Ozzy just sung with catchy vocal lines. Occasionally in the slower, a tad bit angrier sections he uses shouted vocals but it’s not really screaming, just a little gruffer than normal. Their use of backup vocals and multi tracking does wonders on the vocals as well, with some cool sounding effects done and an amazing female vocalist who really adds a lot of atmosphere to the few songs she’s on.
Sadly, there are a few moments where things get a bit boring. When they do contrast the slow stoner riffs with these uplifting faster sections, it’s interesting and works well. Every once in a while though, they slow down a little too much and keep things going for longer than they should. That’s genuinely the biggest complaint I’ve got with this album as a whole, it’s still a gem to be heard. This is sludge, that’s for certain. This isn’t your “passed out on the floor with a heroine needle in your arm” sludge though, this is your “fuck yeah, I’m at a carnival” sludge. The band knows how to mix things up relatively well, combining a nice happy, dreamy atmosphere with slow and down tuned riffs. It’s pretty unique and one of my favorite sludge albums ever, even if they’re for hipsters.