Thursday 27 March 2014

Small Factory

Can we talk about Small Factory? About one of the very best singles bands of the early 90s? Their records are joyously frantic. They're electric-acoustic and frenzied like The Clean, even though they'd never heard The Clean. They're about love, because that was what mattered most.

There was a flexi in 1991 with Honeybunch and The Bachelor Pad because they kept good company. The next year they came to the UK and toured with Heavenly. A few days after their London gig I sat on a bus for 5-and-a-half hours so I could see them again. The day after that I got another bus to see them again. They were that good live.

Milky Way fanzine

A year later, their album I Do Not Love You didn't cut it for me. No matter. They were a perfect singles band. The only other band whose singles I played as much back then was Velocity Girl. I moved on from them, too. That's pop music. You fall in love, then your head gets turned by something newer and shinier. You move on. Eventually you come back.

Small Factory came up, accidentally, in late 1997. Jeffrey Borchardt of the Honeybunch played a low-key London gig on his honeymoon. I asked him to play Hey Blue Sky! He declined because that was about someone else and he was with his new wife. I later found out that Blue Sky is Phoebe Summersquash of Small Factory.

I came back to Small Factory this week because a Record Collector review of the brilliant new Trick Mammoth single compares them to Small Factory. Can't hear the connection, but I can hear the brilliance.


  1. Another fine post Ben! I didn't realise that SMALL FACTORY had a connection to WHAT NOW - I've got their 7"

  2. there's been raving about Small Factory on the indiepoplist from time to time but i never wanted to check 'em out. until now! i think the similarity with Trick Mammoth is in the vocal...

  3. Rich - I know nothing about the What Now - any tips or recommendations welcome.

    Xanthi - ah, maybe it is the vocal. Trick Mammoth are getting compared to a lot of very different bands. I think that's a sign of their quality and their breadth of vision.

  4. I think there was just one single from WHAT NOW. Not listened to it in a while and most of my singles have been moved for decorating but from what I remember it was very good in a HUSKERS meets MISSION OF BURMA vein

  5. This is the WHAT NOW single I have:

  6. Thanks, Rich. Just scored a cheap copy on ebay.

  7. Thanks for remembering Small Factory, an amazing band. Been long wanting to read that Milky Way! I wonder if their track (The Giant Merry-Go-Round) on the Milky Way flexi is any different from what came out later on the Slumberland single, do you know? Cheers.

    1. Sorry for the late response. The two versions sound very similar and any differences I can spot might just be down to the superior fidelity of the 7". Sorry, that's not much help!.

  8. I was friends with Phoebe as a boy. She was absutely one of the most amazing humans I have ever met.