Crawling Chaos, The Gas Chair

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A strange footnote in the Factory catalog

Far and away the strangest act in the Factory stable, Crawling Chaos were immediately and unanimously savaged by the UK press. But decades later, they've become something of an astonishing cipher. "Sex Machine," their lone Factory single, is arguably the most un-sexy song ever committed to tape. It's a breathless bit of freak-wave, with roaring guitars, skittish synths and vocals so warped and warbling it sounds like someone's yanking the tape while it's running through the reels. The track's title may promise titillation, but the song delivers one grotesquerie after another: "I went to the doctor to get a smear/He told me I had gonorrhea." Even stranger is the searing three-minute guitar solo that swallows up the entire back half of the song. In the end, even Factory found the group too weird: after two years of hesitation, the group's full-length was finally issued through Factory's Benelux subsidiary, where it died a quiet, pustulant death.