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Jordan Reyne – Children of a Factory Nation

Nichola Eastwood


Be warned!  Children of a Factory Nation is not a cheerful album.  The latest offering from Jordan Reyne follows the story of a family living in the 1800s, an era in which her music firmly steeps its roots.  This is a collection of dark, celtic folk and definitely an acquired taste.

Johnny and the Sea sets the scene for the rest of the album, a suitably ominous and gloomy beginning.  Ethereal humming alongside morbid and repetitive lyrics make this the musical equivalent of a Grimm’s fairytale, which while it sounds good on paper is daunting and not a little depressing on the ear.  A Woman Scorned doesn’t veer to far astray from its predecessor, so much so that there really is little to tell the two apart.  Blood on the Sea does attempt to gather a bit more attention, commencing with the first of many sound effects, predictably enough it’s the sound of lapping waves that leads us into this muted affair of soft guitar and faint drums.  A Hard Game takes us down a more lively route, the clip clop of horses hooves and church bells blend into a marching drumbeat and vocals that take on an almost angry edge.

London sees Jordan sample and combine two traditional folk songs, Bedlam Boys and Silver Dagger.  It’s a further attempt to make her music live in the era she wants us to experience, a historical collage of whistling, a solemn drumbeat and morbid vocals.  Title track, Factory Nation, is the stand out moment of the record.  We’re approached by industrial factory sounds, the hiss of steam and grind of metal. Jordan’s vocals actually take on a softer more feminine quality, making for a refreshing change.  The Arsonist produces a mellower and lighter vibe than thus far and Jordan manages to grasp our attention a little longer.  Sadly though, A Healers Folly and Crooked make for a rather monotonous close.

Jordan’s vocals are the star of the album, carrying us from one track to the next with a surprisingly coarse and masculine quality.  It’s an album of sparse and minimalist sound, created to take you back in time, unfortunately you simply find yourself struggling to differentiate one track from the next as your attention slowly but surely slips.  It’s an album of honourable but failed intentions.