The Folk Implosion: Walk Thru Me [Album Review]

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The Folk Implosion
Walk Thru Me
Joyful Noise Recordings [2024]

Album Overview: The Folk Implosion, co-founded by Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh) and John Davis in the early 1990s, originated from their collaborative improvised jams. The duo of course gained recognition in 1995 with their breakout hit “Natural One” from the indie film KIDS. After releasing their third album, One Part Lullaby, Davis left the band, leading Barlow to continue under the name The New Folk Implosion. Their recent reunion was sparked during the pandemic, leading to their latest album, Walk Thru Me. The new album marks the return of The Folk Implosion after two decades, featuring contributions from both members despite geographical separation. The album is a culmination of remote collaborations, with additional support from producer Scott Solter. Walk Thru Me feels very comfortable and what you would expect to hear from The Folk Implosion. Lots of mid-tempo numbers that all have their own unique style that are also driven by whichever member is singing lead. The record explores mature themes such as personal loss, political consciousness, and the complexities of parenthood, reflecting the duo’s experiences and perspectives during the pandemic.

Musical Style: The album is full of light beat-driven pop collages, blending lush arrangements with a mix of traditional and experimental sounds. It gathers diverse instrumentation, including Middle Eastern instruments, and showcases a contrast between Barlow’s softer vocals and Davis’s more urgent delivery.

Evolution of Sound: The sound of The Folk Implosion has evolved from their early lo-fi recordings to more polished, layered productions. This album continues their tradition of merging different musical elements, while integrating new influences from their individual solo projects and personal growth over the years. Walk Thru Me has a very mature sound as each track has a meticulous precision with every blended instrument.

Artists with Similar Fire: Fans of bands like Sebadoh, St. Vincent, Spoon, Beck and The Mountain Goats will find plenty of similarities in the eclectic and innovative approach of The Folk Implosion. The album’s introspective lyrics and Davis sung tracks might also appeal to listeners of Robyn Hitchcock and The Palace Brothers.

Pivotal Tracks: Key tracks include the catchy “My Little Lamb,” an emotional reflection on parenthood by Barlow, and “Bobblehead,” a politically charged song by Davis. The title track has a very cool almost off-kilter beat that Barlow dances around with his memorable vocals. “Water Torture” and “The Day You Died” are also significant, highlighting the duo’s distinct lyrical themes and musical styles.

Lyrical Strength: The lyrics on Walk Thru Me are deeply personal and politically aware, addressing topics like divorce, loss, and societal issues. Barlow and Davis each bring their unique perspectives, with Barlow focusing on themes of protection and fatherhood, and Davis exploring broader political commentary and personal reflections on his relationship with his late father.

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Thomas Wilde

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