NAF: FOL CHEN / Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made

I like Thursday night gigs. If you’re lucky and the bands are good and there’s a merch table, it means new music to listen to on a Friday while the live performance, the personality of the band is still fresh in your mind.

Last night found me at Sleazies to watch the always excellent 2storeys. It was one of those lucky bag nights with four eclectically chosen bands each bringing something different to the evening’s entertainment, and the last band on stage were a touring outfit from Los Angeles by the name of Fol Chen. The six piece line up including synths, guitars, occasional trumpet and as many as five vocals suffered a little from a weak live vocal mix but their songs, musicianship and self-deprecating sense of humour won the crowd over.

Thus it was that Friday morning’s been all about “Part I: John Shade, Your Future’s Made”. In short, I’m loving it. It’s a hugely varied album with notes of clashy introspection in songs such as You And Your Sister In Jericho and The Believers alongside genuinely hooky slices of radio friendly electro such as The Idiot and Cable TV. A lot of thought and effort has gone into the sound design. It’s reminiscent for me Grizzly Bear’s Veckitamest, more synthy but still blending the electronica with natural percussion, strings and brass in interesting ways. At it’s best this gives us the superb stomp of Winter, That’s All and SergeantPepper-esque maelstrom of Red Skies Over Garden City. And it’s best is very good indeed.

Don’t think I’m ever going to get bored of listening to this one.

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