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Leap of Folly

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Album Review

Although it was Fountains of Wayne's Welcome Interstate Managers that got the critical attention and sales during the summer of 2003, the second album by fellow northern New Jerseyites the Trolleyvox makes an even stronger argument for an artistic renaissance in the pop underground, a scene that had been stagnant and increasingly irrelevant for the preceding few years. Guitarist Andrew Chalfen's songs, tinged with a bit of melancholy even on spirited rockers like the glorious "Oregon Lanes," are a perfect fit for Beth Filla's warm, dusky voice. (Filla is a marvelous singer, occasionally resembling an American Tracey Thorn, whose vocals remind one that more jangly guitar pop bands should have female singers). Lengthy, minor-key tunes like "Green Light Cascade" and "Air Companion" predominate, but the album's highest point is the sardonic rocker "Le Fleur de Lys," featuring Chalfen's wittiest lyrics and most memorable melody, as well as a rueful empathy sometimes missing from similar Fountains of Wayne character studies. Leap of Folly takes a couple of spins to reveal its more subtle charms, but even on first listen, these 14 songs have an immediate jangle pop appeal.


Formed: Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The early history of the Trolleyvox began when the multitalented guitar pop maven Andrew Chalfen (Wishniaks, Gimme, Joey Sweeney) recorded demos in 1993-95 with guitarist-vocalist Dave Gray (Idlewilds, Vegas Nerve) and engineer Adam Lasus (Helium, Madder Rose). Then Beth Filla answered a 1996 "vocalist wanted" ad that Chalfen had placed in a local Philadelphia paper. Chalfen suspected she was a witch because she smelled of burned wood and spices from a pagan ceremony, but she impressed him with her...
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Leap of Folly, The Trolleyvox
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