We’d like things to always progress in a timely manner. Tracking careers of steady bands is simply easier and there is much to be gained by a slowly developing discography. But sometimes, the most random and often obscure careers can lead to a blossoming creation and productive power. Floor can claim dubious ownership of such a career. Created in the early 90’s, Floor released numerous short tastes of pop rock goodness, only to die and metamorphose into one of the most infectious bands out there, Torche. Following a successful reunion four years ago, Floor now return with Oblation, convinced that they still have what to give the world in terms of sludge, pop and sticky dreams.
And they’re right. Oblation is the obsessed, ecstatic sister of Torche. To be certain, the similarities are blatant: the guitars are scattered, the drums are fuzzy and Steve Brook‘s vocals are unmistakably his own, seeming disenchanted yet powerful at the same time. But Oblation doesn’t satisfy itself with simply rehashing the same ideas we’ve seen throughout Brook’s career. Instead, the rock foundations serve as the mainline, the spine, running through this album. Below and above that spine, to use the terms lightly, live transmuted renditions of the same sound. When below, Floor kick with a sludgy slowness that has no peer in their history. When above, they become frantic iterations of the core sound.
Examples of the former can be heard on tracks like Homegoings and Transitions and Sign of Aeth. The second is probably the best track on the record: the decreased tempo works beautifully with the guitar sound and vocals to create the feeling of a coiled spring. This tension is then released around the five minutes mark, with a captivating solo ushering in an outro that reminds us of the emotional vistas of Baroness. Another example can be found in New Man which, while moving faster than Sign of Aeth, still contains such a robust bass that it etches itself upon your ear. This heaviness complements Floor so much that you almost want all tracks to remain in this low frequency tension.
But the beauty of Oblation is that it knows how to go fast and frantic when needed. The absolute champion of this fact is Love Comes Crushing. This track is mostly made up of familiar, slower riffs but one minute before its close it erupts into a thrash sound that is impossible to resist. Ending on a fast note, it leaves the listener breathless for a few moments before plunging back into familiar territory. In this category we can also include Sister Sophia, once again exhibiting a faster tempo and more reliance on cymbals that give it a thrashy aftertaste and Raised to a Star, setting us up for the close of the record with punk-like aggression.
The ability to contain these variations is what ultimately makes Oblation convincing. Without them, it would seem to be just another pulsation in the long beating of the style created by Torche. But seeing as it contains these oscillations, the twisting of the knob between fast and slow, Oblation stands alone as a sincere and worthy album. While offering a taste of a sound we all know and love, it doesn’t hesitate to introduce new elements into these tested schema. Whether you seek speed or depth, Oblation has your fix; sludge and rock, pop and grunge, all mix together into a fascinating tapestry.
Floor’s Oblation gets…