November 18 — “For When You Cannot Land” by Small Factory


Small Factory

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “For When You Cannot Land” by Small Factory (1994, from the album For If You Cannot Fly).

Small Factory was an indie-pop trio from Providence, Rhode Island. They put out two amazing records during their short life from 1991 to 1995. They made way more noise than a three-piece is supposed to make. And they had a lot of fun doing it. Phoebe Summersquash (drums, vocals), Alex Kemp (bass, vocals), and Dave Auchenbach (guitar, vocals) had the right formula for the early 1990s. Although they were very good, they were also simply in the right place at the right time. They made the best of it during the short time that their star shone.

Their 1991 debut record I Do Not Love You featured a pretty cool cover of “Valentine” by Lois. To this day, I don’t own that album, but I used to play it a LOT on my radio show way back then.

Their second, and sadly, last record For If You Cannot Fly is the one that I have, and I used to play it even more than I Do Not Love You. One of the highlights on the album is a song called “Versus Tape”, which is a tribute to their favorite band. Later, Summersquash and Kemp formed another band called The Godrays, and they also paid tribute to Versus with a cover of the song “Crazy”. I wrote all about that back in August.

The album is packed with loud, high-energy, heavily affected pop songs, and some ridiculous coed vocal harmonies. It took a while for me to pick a song from the album, and despite some of the laughable lyrics, this is one of the best the album has to offer.

“For When You Cannot Land” by Small Factory

I love the chiming guitar right at the drop. And I love how heavy-handed Summersquash was on her kit. There’s nothing particularly spectacular about her drumming ability, and she played on a very very basic kit, but she played hard.

There’s also nothing spectacular about any of the singing, but the way they all harmonize in an imperfect way, and the way they all sing, it all works out just fine. There’s something that mesmerizes me about how everything mashes together in just the right way. And in a way, you can say the same about their idols, Versus. At least you could say that about the singing.

Whatever Small Factory lacked in technical proficiency and raw talent, they made up for with their energy and their fun factor.

For If You Cannot Fly is out of print, and I don’t see it on any of the usual legal downloading places. Used copies are still around, and you can get one from amazon here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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