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the floor

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"The Floor - Autonomy Off/On (All Music Guide)"

While Interpol, for better or worse, brought back public attention to U.K. post-punk romanticism in a big way in a new century, they were hardly the only ones either keeping that flame alive or else coming up with their own parallel takes. Thus the Floor, a solid-enough quartet whose second effort -- like their debut Doll, not quite an EP, not quite an album -- bespeaks plenty of love for such legends as Echo & the Bunnymen and the Chameleons, to name just two touchstones of many. The brisk, crisp edge of "Drown Inside" in particular is a near Crocodiles' homage and no less grand for it, while the guitar on "Impossible" has the same sense of echo and drama as the little-appreciated guitar work of A Flock of Seagulls' Paul Reynolds. Interestingly, though, perhaps what the group most calls to mind is December, the underrated late-80s album by one of the earliest North American avatars of the style, For Against. Floor guitarist/singer Matt Pahl, especially on songs like "Isolene, I," has the same yearning, slightly higher-pitched edge of For Against's leader Jeffrey Runnings, while the same sense of energetic but not overly busy arrangements can be heard in both bands. Guitarist/synth player Graham Lessard also oversaw the production and came up with just the right sound -- strong and punchy, often with Paul Arnusch's bass stabbing through most of all, but with plenty of room for swoony depth in the arrangements. The highlight is easily "Noncom," even if Pahl's voice is almost a bit too lost in the sound here, there is still a blasting, dramatic number with a particularly memorable mid-song break. The Floor are still a young band finding their feet, perhaps, but the elements are there to aim even higher next time around, perhaps with striking results. -- Ned Raggett - All Music Guide


"The Floor - Doll (Edmonton Journal)"

"Death patrol!," warns The Floor's Matt Pahl, yelling like a drill sergeant in some futuristic sci-fi film. Yet it could also be a cry from our past, when the Cold War was at its height and kids were taught how to survive in fall-out shelters. That's the beauty of Doll, the first EP from Edmonton's rockers - its roots might be planted in the "new wave" groups of the '80s, but The Floor's piercing, siren-like guitars, ominous synths and messages still sound as urgent today. "Set the dials, controls for catastrophe," sings Pahl, backed by a guitar tick-tocking down the minutes to doom. As the war in Iraq wages on, SARS spreads across the globe and you're convinced Armageddon is nigh, Doll is the disc to crank up. It won't allay your fears - but as you move to its almost groovy bass rhythms, you won't feel so alone. As Pahl instructs on Catastrophe: "Just keep dancing."

Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal Apr.5/03 - Edmonton Journal


"The Floor - Autonomy Off/On (Post-Punk.com)"

I am so glad I dragged my tired self out last May to see The Floor perform in Vancouver with Radio Berlin. I have been listening to this EP constantly since then, and it is a gem - a beautiful, understated modern renaissance of the classic post-punk sound.

The Floor are from Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada. Pulsating basslines that sound at times almost dub-inspired play beautifully off clipped, metronomic drum beats. The icy guitar lines weave in and out of the music with swelling, dreamy melodies, way-off-in-the-distance squalls and pointed stabs of sound. The keyboards are used for both lush atmosphere and melody. I am so grateful for the tasteful use of keyboards and 'vintage' keyboard voices on this EP (amidst today's tawdry '80's revivalists') . There is no trace of the post-hardcore penchant for whiny, overwrought vocals and cloying displays of technical virtuosity (gratuitous time signature changes, nonsensical stop-starts just for the sake of it etc..). This is an intelligent EP from start to finish. Matt Pahl's vocals are perfectly cold and detached.

The first track, 'Drown Inside', is my favourite, and really deserves to be released as a single. All the musicians are really at their best here, Paul Arnusch's bass playing is prominent - melodic, full and reverberating against the drums. 'Impossible' is another track that shows off his excellent bass playing - I really like the moments where the bass is full, pulsing and slightly off-kilter. The delay-drenched guitar lines in this song are really nice as well. 'Noncom' is surely a respectful nod to New Order, and shows off drummer Dan Carlyle's ability to combine precise, machine-like drumming with the dense, dynamic sound of live drums . 'Automaton' is my least favourite track. It's not really a bad song, it just seems to me like a slightly contrived foray into The Faint's territory, which doesn't really grab me, and seems unnecessary since they do well with a guitar-based sound. Overall, though, the synths on this EP are subtle well thought-out and add a lush, atmospheric quality to the album.

If a reviewer must provide reference points by drawing comparisons to other bands then here is the list: The classic sounds of Echo and the Bunnymen, Wire, Psychedelic Furs, House of Love, Chameleons UK, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Japan (editors note: I'd also tack on For Against, and Sad Lovers and Giants as well) with a heavy dose of the modern sensibilities of the Cold War and Turn Pale. Like the latter 2 bands, The Floor takes an intelligent, intellectual approach to the exercise of reconsidering and reworking the post-punk aesthetic in a modern context. An interest in historical and impending disasters, paranoia, and cold-war tension are always at play.

You should track down this EP and support an excellent band that knows its history and has the intelligence and talent to move the great post-punk traditions forward. I have a feeling we can look forward to something really profound from them in the future. - www.post-punk.com


"The Floor - Autonomy Off/On (Vue Weekly)"

While we could credit Grand Theft Auto: Vice City with having reacquainted mainstream culture with the gaudy excess of the '80s, bands like the Floor are helping to remind us that beneath that sea of soul-emptying, totally tubular synth-pop, there was an angry undercurrent of rebellious guitars duelling with cheap technology. As austere and ironically cold as the music might aspire to be, it's the scratchy atmospherics that say it all, a notion lost in this age of ProTools key-corrected reality. So while scenesters pump spooge over the likes of Interpol and Hot Hot Heat for making Duran Duran cool again, it's the Floor who are offering up echoes of true outcasts like the Cure, Joy Division and New Order on their second EP, Autonomy Off/On. And like their forefathers, the Floor provides a rich antidote to the empty angst of pop culture as they glide through the wasteland with Matt Pahl's reverbing vocals, Dan Carlyle's snapping drums, Graham Lessard's percolating synths and sinewy guitars and Paul Arnusch's pulsing bass. What's more, their note-perfect referencing of another era's underground sound prompts an interesting question: if bands can shamelessly revel in 'authentic' punk and rock 'n' roll, why can't we also celebrate the breakthrough sound and vision that the '80s underground hinted at? Plus, once you get past the history lesson and plunge into the propulsive drive of 'Drown Inside' and the drama of 'Impossible,' you hear the bastard cousin of punk coming back for its due.
- Dave Johnston, Vue Weekly - Vue Weekly


"The Floor (Georgia Straight)"

There are so many black-clad acts around these days claiming to carry the torch of late-'70s/early-'80s British new wave and postpunk that, quite frankly, we're getting sick of it. So when we caught wind that some band from Edmonton calling itself the Floor was dropping the names of Joy Division, Wire, the Cure, New Order, and Echo and the Bunnymen, we rolled our eyes. Then we listened to the Floor's self-released CD, Autonomy Off/On, and we were forced to admit that the Alberta quartet captures the essence of the pointy-shoes-and-skinny-ties era in a more convincing and heartfelt way than almost any other band we can think of. That makes the Floor's two local shows - one Friday (August 20) at the Lamplighter and the other Saturday (August 21) at the Brickyard - must attend events for anyone who has ever coveted an older sibling's original issue Unknown Pleasures T-shirt.
- The Georgia Straight - The Georgia Straight


Discography

Doll EP (2003)
Autonomy Off/On (2003)

In addition to both EPs charting at college radio stations across Canada, the tracks Isolene, I and Drown Inside from Autonomy have received steady airplay on CBC Radio 3.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Although just two years old as a band, THE FLOOR's list of accomplishments is already significant. They have self-released two EPs, both charting at campus radio stations across Canada. They have performed on CBC's ZeD TV, toured from Montreal to Vancouver, and recently opened for the Pixies on their Edmonton date. In addition, they have gained national exposure on MuchMusic as part of the Much Does Edmonton feature and by their inclusion on the CBC's ZeD compilation CD. THE FLOOR is also winning fans abroad; influential California webzine Light Up the Sky cited THE FLOOR as one of the top bands to watch in 2004, and named 'Autonomy Off/On' one of the best discs of 2003.
In the time since 'Autonomy,' THE FLOOR has shown no signs of slowing, having written an album's worth of material that they consider their strongest yet. Several new tracks recorded in the summer of 2004 are evidence that THE FLOOR's songwriting is bolder, catchier and more danceable than ever. It's certain their next release will confirm THE FLOOR as standouts among their contemporaries.