Post-punk is often fueled by paranoia, but few albums conjure up delightful distrust quite like Lifelike does. Coming from the fertile, experimental soil of Chicago, FACS have laid bare a rather stunning aural achievement with their latest batch.

Mixing post-punk, art punk, shoegaze, industrial, and post-rock, Lifelike is a lot to take in, in a very good way. That means that initial listens are likely focused on the sheer sonic density at work here; FACS’ sound is predicated on a 360-degree soundscape. This is a record best suited for a quality headset and time to take it all in.

Individual songs toy with the various stylistic flourishes at FACS’ disposal: “Loom State” is a haunted industrial number; “Anti-Body” is a surprisingly hooky noise pop jam, and “In Time” is almost psychedelic in its trippy trappings. If all that makes it seem like Lifelike is disjointed, that’s partly the point but also not exactly right.

It seems as though all these seemingly disparate elements are meant to symbolize the paranoia—they’re coming for you from everywhere—but the truth of the matter is that Lifelike is a delightfully cohesive listen. The pulsing bass lines and melodic undercurrents are the through-lines that tether the listener to reality and ultimately ground the album. Lifelike is pervasive like that—give it your time, and you’ll be hearing these siren sounds in your dreams. What a treat for fans of the more artistic side of post-punk.

Purchase this album here.

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