Fol Chen: Part II: The New December

Fol Chen: Part II: The New December
Los Angeles’ Fol Chen‘s debut album, Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made came out of nowhere as did the band. Their internet presence was diminutive, information on the band was scarce, and you could not find a photograph of them if you tried. A year later, ravenous fans have managed to put up a wikipedia page with at least some information on the band but still Fol Chen seems shrouded in mystery as they release their sophomore album, Part II: The New December.
Like their debut, Part II is somewhere between a psychedelic mind-fuck and a pop record. Their contemporaries appear to be Elephant 6 artists, specifically The Olivia Tremor Control and Of Montreal.
The album’s first single, “In Ruins” illustrates this point. The track starts with pounding floor toms and a disturbingly low voice that is what I imagine satan to sound like. But the voice’s part is short and the meat of the song begins. The track features a loopy sound that reminds me of Panjabi MC‘s “Mundian To Bach Ke”. The track’s female vocals remind me of Deerhoof. But despite the varied sounds, the track’s chorus is pure pop and easily one of the catchiest songs of the year.
Where the album gets off track is when the experimentation outdoes the poppiness. The off-kilter ballad “Men, Beasts Or Houses” is slow, plodding, and nearly unlistenable.
Luckily, “Men, Beasts Or Houses” is the exception not the rule. Very few songs on the album completely do not work. For the most part, Fol Chen avoids pitfalls and delivers a very successful sophomore album.
Rating: 7.0/10
MP3: Fol Chen “In Ruins
Buy: iTunes or Insound!