Long waits between studio albums is a catch-22 in the music industry. Granted, absence makes the heart grow fonder, but the scene can change over extended periods. Out come the rose-colored glasses and the nostalgia pops, and the longing for the way it used to be. Two decades have gone by since the last full-length by Heavy Water Factory, the experimental electro-industrial project by Jesse James McClear. His mixture of techno, industrial, and ambient noise makes for a danceable, atmospheric listen, with plenty of groove, trance, and flow to be found. Spillage is return to form for HWF, as McClear takes what he describes as "many losses over the years" and turns it into a full, clean-sounding piece of electronic music.
“Anything for You” starts the album off with a dreamy intro and a killer hook. It’s a strong opener that spills over into “Never Know,” which might be my personal favorite track from the album. “Reaktif” definitely deserved to be released as a single, as it may be a close second to its predecessor. “Disappearing Act” lays off the gas for its intro, but finds its footing partway through. The lighter, more dance side of things comes through on “We Good Enough” and “Beyond Doubt,” with the former a more dance floor-ready track.
“As It Was” is a dream of a listen, with its exceptional synth work. Another banger of a track with the danceable “I’m Captain Effing Ahab,” with another great hook. “Amandava” has a remix that has plenty of groove and stands out among its album cohorts. Modern sounds of trance and EDM bleed through with “Irradiance,” and the synth work of McClear is on full display on “Untitled.” “The Lowest” gets dirty and grungy in sound, a nice change of pace from the dreamy, floating on air rest of the disc. The closing track “This Was Your Idea” is atmospheric, but haunting in its simplicity and straightforwardness.
Spillage is a strong showing for McClear and HWF, with plenty of overlapping sounds and influences. Altogether, it is an achievement in electronic music, and for a first outing in nearly two decades, McClear seems to not have missed a step. Hopefully it won’t be long before we see more content from Heavy Water Factory.