Fol Chen’s “The False Alarms”

11 Apr

Fol Chen


I’ve been listening this week to The False Alarms, the new CD by Fol Chen on Asthmatic Kitty Records. This five-member band out of L.A. — with vocals led by keyboardist Sinosa Loa — is difficult to categorize. Their music is electro-pop, but not like other electro-pop you’ve heard. As the band puts it, “Fol Chen makes soundtracks to a future that never was. To listen is to leave the comfort of nostalgia and land with both feet in a bolder 21st century. Think of it as pop music for people who aren’t sure where or when they are, but who know it’s nowhere they’ve been before.”

My favorite track is the first single from The False Alarms. “200 Words” starts with other-worldly sound effects — a supernova pulsing, random stuttering and synthesizer chords that approximate the whistle of a futuristic ocean liner traveling to far-off galaxies. Then, Loa captivates with spoken lyrics that could be a much hipper Madonna and sexy vocals set to a hypnotizing beat. Put the 6:18 track on repeat and enjoy.

Other standouts on the CD include “I.O.U.,” with its bright, bouncy beats and Loa’s stuttering vocals, and “A Tourist Town,” a catchy pop tune with Middle Eastern influences mixed into the electronics and an infectious “I Got Drunk Again” chorus. Ahhhh…how good it is to be young!

“Hemispheres” is a bit more traditional in its construction — with a clock-like rhythm throughout and synth orchestral chords swooping in the distance. And “Boys in the Woods” is another sexy romp by Loa that you can play over and over.

Fol Chen’s first two CDs were highly experimental and because of their learning curve were not very approachable for many people. But if you like indie music, The False Alarms is a consistently fun ride through a future of electro-pop that only Fol Chen can clearly see.


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