Fol Chen “In Ruins”
(From Part II: The New December out now on Asthmatic Kitty)
I missed Part I of this bubblegum sci-fi pop opera (released last year as John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made), but catching this ongoing melodic whorl in media res is better than being left on the platform ticketless. Fol Chen is a mysterious sonic karass rumored to operate out of Highland Park, but the music and lyrics indicate origin in some kind of Borgesian alt-reality that North American Top 40 radio has reached in fragments over the past several decades. Dance-dance posing, acid rain, political weariness and onrushing moral chaos all get a brisk Bowie-esque going-over as musical tragedy before the title track’s aural utopia carries things off to scenic Yoshimi-land. It’s a place of billowing lime-green breezes that resembles this world only by careless caricature.