Fol Chen: Part II: The New December

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Bolstering Part II is lead single/Sirius XMU stalwart "In Ruins," a jingly little ditty featuring irresistible vocals from Karin Tatoyin that is multifarious as it is mystifyingly catchy. Pegging down Fol Chen isn't the easiest thing to do, but what they do is something refreshingly unique and, thus, critically acclaimed in today's music scene. That doesn't mean you won't have a few head scratches wondering what the band's concept is all about.

What the critics are saying:

A.V. Club: The singsong electro-pop of "The Holograms" and "In Ruins," the horror-movie drones of the Liars-assisted "This Is Where The Road Belongs," the stiffly soulful, Terence Trent D'Arby-evoking "C/U," and the dainty coos of "Adeline (You Always Look So Bored)" sound like they come from completely different bands, while half-formed songs such as "Men, Beasts Or Houses" and "The Holes" sag under the weight of too many samples substituting for musical direction.

Exclaim!: Part II: The New December is, naturally, a concept album with a narrative thread that has something to do with a virus destroying language, but thankfully, the songs work in isolation. The music is jittery and glitchy, leaning heavily on electronics to drive them along, like a less frantic version of the Mae Shi. The arrangements aren't always cluttered, but there's no attempt to pull back from that busyness either until the final, contemplative title track arrives. 

Bearded Magazine: As you listen, echoes crop up of a melange of various distinctive folk. The jerky jaunt of 'The Holograms', for example, sounds like a proggy take on The Notwist or uber-cool Canadians Oen Sujet. Other tracks sound like a more off-kilter and eclectic Stereolab - 'In Ruins', with its gorgeous sultry vocals by LA chanteuse Karin Tatoyan, and the sweet angular pop of 'Adeline' with vocals by Simone White.

AltSounds: Hearing the opening track of Part II: The New December, "Holograms", much seems possible. Jagged, dub-step manqué beats set a distinctly futuristic tone. The vocal is an enjoyable approximation of Regina Spektor making the most of being put in a tumble dryer. Noisier drums wouldn't hurt, but there's a real sense that the hype might be justified.

Part II: The New December is out now via Asthmatic Kitty.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.