As of this writing, The Folk Implosion have been inactive for six years. Chances are, even if you’re familiar with the bands attached to The Folk Implosion, they aren’t in your repertoire. And that’s okay, because they’re a bastard child. They’re less than a bastard child: they’re the red-headed step-child of the music community. They never went much of anywhere, and to be fair, they never had to. They did, however, release One Part Lullaby, a record that you should hear at least once. But you are probably wondering, if you don’t know the band: Just who the hell are The Folk Implosion?
After the release of Bug, Lou Barlow was kicked out of Dinosaur Jr. Following this, he started Sebadoh, a project which panned out better than anyone could have guessed. But Barlow, being a true genius and finding it impossible to tie himself down to one thing, began The Folk Implosion, because Sebadoh didn’t help cover all the musical ground he wanted to cover.
I’ll admit, dear reader, that One Part Lullaby is the only Folk Implosion album I own, or have listened to. This is because I know that I could never love any of their albums as much as I love this particular album. It begins with an erratic beat and leads into Barlow’s butter-smooth delivery: “My good time/I feel alright/My ritual followed us to paradise/My blood moves/I feel alright/Don’t touch me ’cause I’ve had too much to feel tonight,” he swoons. Everything here, from the manipulated beats to the guitar riffs that almost serve as an afterthought, feel as organic as anything. “Who can be trusted with perfect weather inside?” he asks in “One Part Lullaby,” a song that almost serves to explain the nature of business here. And somehow, even bearing in mind what kind of music we’re used to hearing from Lou, it’s easy to believe him when he tells us, “I can’t be trusted, I’m dust in the wind/I let he weather decide where my day begins/I’m not a rebel of the natural one/I’m in love with the chemical following the setting sun,” because if you can say it like that, how can it be anything but true?
“I had seven good years until I noticed they were looking at me/I didn’t like what they’d see,” he sings in “Free To Go,”a song that finds him at his most Barlow-esque, and yet without abandoning the same casual sensibilities that bind him to the album. He comes across as carefree here, and yet never comes across as not caring or lacking honesty. One Part Lullaby is everything you wish you could have in an album, all wrapped into an hour-long package. It’s surprising without sacrificing comfort, and pulls off the best song about a sex toy that isn’t “Coin-Operated Boy,” while also pulling off “E-Z L.A.,” a song absolutely flawless in its woozy and wandering structure.
“The dream demands the magic is planned,” Lou sings in the overjoyed “Chained To The Moon.” After listening to One Part Lullaby as many times as I have, it seems to be that he’s wrong: magic like this can never be planned. The tragic part of that is, since Lou rejoined Dinosaur Jr., who are still going even stronger than they were before they broke up, it means that they may never release another album. This is a fact that makes me sad, but it’s a fact that I could be okay with. An album as magical as this only comes along once in awhile, I can’t possibly complain that lightning only struck once.