Folk Implosion One Part Lullaby

It was the English writer Oscar Wilde who said life is one part lullaby, two parts fear. American band the Folk Implosion borrows the expression as the chorus for the title track of its new album, which, like Wilde himself, is quite a dandy. Folk Implosion partners Lou Barlow, who is also a founding member of Sebadoh, and John Davis have always known how to put a song together. Over the years, both musicians have cut their teeth on a variety of independent, home recorded albums — separately on solo discs, in other band projects and together as the Folk Implosion — which sacrificed slick production values for gritty, raw emotive power. Together, they even scored an unlikely pop hit in 1995 with “Natural One,” a song taken from the soundtrack of Larry Clark’s gritty New York story, Kids. But they have never delivered a record as accomplished as One Part Lullaby. This 13-track album recalls the sound collages of multi-genre artists, such as Eels and Beck, but it has a freshness and an innovative bent to it. Barlow and Davis make a wonderful team. Their big strength is melody. Melody that is driven on Folk Implosion songs by a fabulous beat. Playing a caboodle of string instruments and keyboards, the duo managed to create an off-the-wall, eccentric peculiar album fuelled by the musical obsessions of its makers. The real surprise comes with the accomplished arrangements that break up the verse-chorus-verse rote of undisciplined home recordings to add glorious bridges and counter-melodies. One Part Lullaby positively shimmers. It's a pop album of the highest order. (Interscope)