Various Auteur Labels: Factory Benelux 1980 — 1985

The ambition of Manchester’s Factory Records was legendary. In addition to running a nightclub and starting a classical label, they dipped their toes into the international market on several occasion. But it was its first such foray that turned out to be the most interesting: Factory Benelux, a collaboration with Brussels label Les Disques Du Crépuscule. Initially, Factory Benelux was written off as a way for the less favoured Factory bands to still get their records released, as in the case of Crawling Chaos and Crispy Ambulance, but it also had lots of exclusive releases by the more popular bands, such as the Durutti Column. That said, this compilation appears to focus on those lesser bands and that translates into some of the more pivotal releases being overlooked, such as New Order’s "Everything’s Gone Green,” and there’s nothing from A Certain Ratio. That leaves the Wake (which still featured Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie at this point) as the real stars, but ultimately the story of Factory Benelux as detailed in the extensive sleeve notes is a lot more interesting than the music here would suggest. (LTM)