The Floor

Autonomy Off/On

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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.