Folly Group: Down There! (digital outlets)

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Folly Group: Down There! (digital outlets)

As we noted many years ago when discussing in great detail The Strokes when they emerged -- and being rather cynical in the face of seeming unanimous acclaim -- sometimes we need to be cautious about why we fall for certain artists.

As we observed, we suspected it was because the Strokes played right into the familiar for many older rock writers (rock'n'roll attitude, New York, swagger'n'sleaze, Velvet Underground elements etc), the very same factors which also appealed to those who weren't there at the time but wanted the rock'n'roll cachet this band carried on their narrows shoulder, hips and trousers.

The Strokes were good -- we'd argue that in recent times they got even better and more original -- but the same principle applies to a lot of new bands.

And to long-stayers as well: we unashamedly concede the reason we liked the most recent Rolling Stones' album Hackney Diamonds was because it sounded closer the classic Seventies/early Eighties Stones than anything they done in decades.

We didn't want to Stones -- after an absence of recording new material for 18 years -- to announce, "We hope you like our new direction".

So sometimes -- as with the recent Sundae Painters album -- we understand the appeal: it's not the shock of the new but the frisson of the familiar.

There is plenty of the familiar on this debut by Folly Group. 

Voices from the Eighties/Nineties underground inspire this intense London quartet whose album rides off strident percussion, skeletal guitars, electronica dance beats, rousing chants and that manic, focused post-punk energy familiar from the Pop Group, our Skeptics, the wound-up tautness of Television, Gang of Four and more recently Yard Act and Young Fathers.

However alongside the abrasive I'll Do What I Can (“no greater favour one can do than try to understand”), there's the measured speak-sing of Bright Night about the anxieties and alienation of London life, the otherworld electronica of Nestwide-screen gothic gloom on New Feature, the dubbed-up urgent story of Strange Neighbour and pop elements nailing down Freeze.

Folly Group have taken their mashed-up sound from East London clubs to Glastonbury.

Whether you like them for being the sum of the various parts or just as sound in its own right, this debut suggests they have further to go yet.


You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here

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