Fol Chen - Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made
Trying to clearly define Fol Chen's sound so that it fits into a nice and neat genre box, is a fruitless effort. They cross category lines often and at other times, transcend them all together. Examples of this are riddled in Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made, their 2009 release. You'll hear anything from indie rock to pop and experimental. You'll hear claps, glitches, clicks, static, car speaker rattling bass, synthesizers, live drums, programmed drums, bells, and a myriad of other sounds all organized into one big ball of sonic bliss. But more importantly, you'll just hear some good music.
You would swear Snoop Dogg was about to do a guest appearance on "Cable TV". It has that California funk vibe reminiscent of mid to late nineties Dr. Dre productions. I would consider this song to be the most commercial and catchy - certainly the most accessible to the general public. But make no mistake about it, there's nothing mundane about it. It has a quirky synthesized whistle during the bridge and chorus, and even has an oriental string instrument right before the verses (maybe a sitar).
"If Tuesday Comes" is deceivingly soft and sweet - as well as incredibly quiet - for about the first minute. After that the drums finally kick in. And just when you thought the song was interesting enough, this Brady Bunch-like chorus comes out of nowhere to put the icing on the cake.
Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made is a far and wide reaching endeavor able to captivate ears and win hearts in the process. The sound is crisp and pristine. The music, though distinguishably electronic, refuses to be pigeonholed or categorized. Fans of rock, pop, experimental, electro-funk, glitch - and I'm sure some others I'm forgetting - will be fans of Fol Chen. Other key tracks: "No Wedding Cake" and "The Idiot".
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