Album Reviews

Folklore: Home Church Road [Album Review]


For a concept album about a post-apocalyptic world, Home Church Road sure does have the erratic presence you’d expect. Folklore, not surprisingly, seems quite comfortable in the realm of folk songs. But they do throw in plenty of wild, borderline punk ones to match. All of it lo-fi.

This chaotic approach can be heard as early as the first three tracks. Home Church Road opens with an orchestral folk tune “Irrelevant Roads” before diving into the ferocious “A Few Years Forward”. Then they drop back to the soft folk tune “World War”.

In a way I’m reminded slightly of Olympia’s lo-fi folk masters Letters, but this band takes a different path in the moments where noise and ferocity take over.

I’m pleased to hear – and you should be too – a folk-rock band that’s just as comfortable creating something stripped-down and subtle as they are putting a little noise in their melodies. “The Unknown Adapted” and “The Cows” are prime examples, with loud electric guitars and near-bouncy pop melodies. Then there’s the psychedelic tune “The Ants”.

When you look a bit deeper, the folk, pop, lo-fi experimentation, and occasional noise traits are no surprise. Folklore is fronted by Elf Power guitarist Jimmy Hughes, and Elf Power was part of the Elephant 6 collective along with Neutral Milk Hotel. And you can definitely hear a little Neutral Milk Hotel influence throughout this LP.

Just listen to “The Party”.

Home Church Road is the album you wished NMH would have made after Mangum disappeared from music. And that’s a mighty compliment.

Download: “Empty Houses” by Folklore
[audio:110519-folklore-empty-houses.mp3|titles=Empty Houses|artists=Folklore]

Download: “The Party” by Folklore
[audio:110519-folklore-the-party.mp3|titles=The Party|artists=Folklore]


[CD, 2011]

1. Irrelevant Roads
2. A Few Years Forward
3. World War
4. Crazy Days
5. The Unknown Adapted
6. The Deer
7. The Cows
8. Empty Houses
9. The Party
10. Mother River
11. The Ants
12. The Birds
13. Loki’s Confession

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