Folk Implosion - One Part Lullaby

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:1999-10-04

It isn't like anybody has been waiting around for "the great LA album", although several bands (Guns N' Roses, Hole) have nevertheless tried to make it. Who would expect that it would finally be done by a hung-up East Coast Romeo who followed his love to Los Angeles and found the city strangely to his liking? Folk Implosion singer-lyricist Lou Barlow is noted for his dejected love songs and now he sings them to a city indifferent and detached, made of concrete and overpasses. Barlow is lucky that John Davis, his partner in the duo, is more sympathetic to his new metropolitan muse than his roughshod cohorts in Sebadoh. Davis layers dense ribbons of guitar and rhythms to recreate both the hazy pall of pollution that hangs over the city and the complex social strata that lives beneath it. Barlow's lyrics reference both his flight from the East and his "following the setting sun" to arrive in paradise. The centerpiece of this song cycle is "Easy LA" with its Tupac-y vocoder chorus and sophisticated electronic hum. "Here I am / Never thought I'd be / Among the drifters and directors / A place for me / It's nothing like I thought it was after all." This album is less a lullaby and more a valentine to America's enigmatic oasis. --Lois Maffeo

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