Weekly Spins

A Soft Parade and Space Travel

Indie-Folk Montrealers Folly & the Hunter. Photo Credit: Vivardy Boursiquot
Starscream mix retro synth sounds with live drums.

Folly & the Hunter

Emerging from a dark Canadian winter to bask in warm summer months, Folly & The Hunter’s first full-length tells a story of calm survival. Each song blossoms through slow-building movements, becoming much more than the sum of its parts.

The Montreal trio creates delicate, artfully complimentary arrangements. A Sufjan-like pastel picture is created through instrumentation including a banjo, piano, and acoustic guitars. Soft vocals slip into falsetto when the moment is right, with harmonies and instrumental accents embellishing the melodic delivery. The results are clean yet compelling folk sounds.

“Traffic” is one of the best examples, where bright piano lines push through building string movements. It all comes to a climax after a few simple words resonating in near silence.

We were stuck in traffic for most of our lives
Staring at the passing cars
Waiting, at the light

This record is uplifting, melancholic, and beautifully sad. There’s a sense of comfort in community here, from the doubled vocal tracks to the tightly-bound folk instrumentation. Folly & The Hunter bring a cohesive, dynamic collection of songs held close to the heart, and it all seems pretty damn earnest.


*_Future, Towards the Edge of Forever*_

There has to be credit given for managing to sound this original using sounds influenced by old Commodore consoles. New York-based Starscream deliver a dynamic, captivating record with their debut studio LP Future, Towards the Edge of Forever. The resulting effect is somewhere between space travel and beating pokémon, in the best possible sense.

It’s a careful balancing act to explore electronic experiments while maintaining the energy of live instruments. When programming becomes a vital part of sculpting a band’s sound, a whole new kind of craft is brought into music – one that can easily suck the life right out of its performance. Where Starscream benefits is choosing an actual drummer over a machine, a refreshing and rewarding decision.

The contrast between live instruments and digital sounds is what makes this record great. The 8-bit emulations provide the bulk of this record’s spacey polyphony, and the sparse use of drums makes it all the more dynamic when they do show up. There’s some live guitar and bass on here too, providing a supporting role for this synthesized symphony.

“Space” evolves from minimalist chiptune interplay into a post-rock climax; fluid instrumental movements always remaining in the foreground. The drums drive the retro video game sounds, leaving space to build atmosphere. They’ve got the space travel motif down; this is sonic weightlessness if I’ve ever heard it.