All the exciting things happening in the folkie world of independent music have been percolating quite nicely over the past three or four years. 2008 saw two genre defining albums in Fleet Foxes’ debut and Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago and now mid way through 2009, it seems as if the field of experimental folk is proving to be unbelievably fertile. Artists like Here We Go Magic, Cass McCombs and Ramona Falls are pushing folks limits, molding the genre’s former, tested foundations into mountains of ethereal beauty, gory chaos and biting irony.
Chicago’s A Lull, only an EP into their promising career, exhibit the best tendencies of folk’s latest resurgence while adding their own barrage of overlapping acoustics, polyrhythmic percussion, and devastatingly fragile falsetto vocals. The finished product can sound robust and epic as well as quiet and austere, meandering into existence like the group’s lead single from their Ice Cream Bones EP “Skinny Fingers.”
The track clocks in at around four and a half minutes but feels complicated and massive (I think that’s the first time in the blogosphere’s history anyone has appreciated a song for feeling longer than it actually is), moving in circles like a small village of people, transforming itself over and over again. It’s an ambitious lead single that rightfully dominates the EP but sets a very nice stage for the Animal Collective – tinged “White/Gold” whose watery percussion actually sounds like one of the band members learned how to play a small creek as his primary instrument.
The Smiling Moose’s heavy metal lineage is an unlikely setting to witness a group like A Lull, but an interesting one none the less. Who will be in attendance to see this up and coming band at the biker heavy bar remains to be seen, especially considering the overlap from the Yeasayer/Ponytail show the same night. Regardless, if you are desperate to hear the blazing new path folk has taken in the past few years, take a good hard listen to A Lull.