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One Part Lullaby

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Album Review

Folk Implosion disappeared from view not long after Dare to Be Surprised, which failed to capitalize on "Natural One"'s surprise success. Perhaps the group effort of 1998's The Sebadoh made Lou Barlow want to claim control of Folk Implosion on One Part Lullaby. Though John Davis is credited with co-writing the songs, "Lou sang lead vocal and wrote most of the words," making this feel like a Barlow solo project blessed with greater popcraft. It's more cohesive than Dare to Be Surprised, built around the trip-hop/new wave blend that made "Natural One" a hit, but that turns out to be a mixed blessing. Part of the charm of Folk Implosion was that it felt like two friends just kicking back, making weird noises, and writing quirky songs. Some of that remains, especially in the cheap synths and other electronic instrumentation, but One Part Lullaby is far more measured, filled with songs performed at the same basic tempo, with similar hooks and arrangements. It's not mellow, necessarily, but has a meditative mood, which fits Barlow's disarmingly introspective lyrics — something familiar to Sebadoh and solo albums, but previously unheard of on Implosion albums. Parts of One Part Lullaby work very well, but it's also curiously flat. The modern rock production feels two years out of date — shiny and commercial for 1996-1997, but an anomaly in 1999. Barlow's writing is too emotionally insular and musically similar for it to be truly engaging throughout and mutes the carefree spirit of previous Implosion albums; worst of all, it feels like he's repeating himself. That's not to say One Part Lullaby is a failure — when Barlow and Davis pull it all together, the results are as strong as anything else the duo has recorded. As a whole, however, it winds up being strangely unengaging.

Customer Reviews

10 years later

The editorial review seems unnecessarily harsh. This was one of my favorite albums around the time it came out, and ten years later, I am revisiting it and remain impressed. I guess saying an album from 1999 sounds "so 1996" isn't criticism that stands the test of time. I think the album does.

What?

I LOVE this album! I got hooked on this band with Natural One, and find it really hard to believe that it isn't available on iTunes. Since I couldn't find the song I wanted (yeah, I know, Kids soundtrack), I bought this album instead. Loved it from the first listen!

Greatest Album I Own

What whoever wrote the album review wanted from Lou Barlow shouldn't matter: this is an excellent, well written and chilling set of songs. Each contains resonance which stays with you well after the album is over. I can sing every word, and I never find it boring. Each line is hitting a new note each time I hear it. The songs are humble, purposeful, intimate and engaging. This is the best album on iTunes, in my humble opinion, and the finest albums I've ever heard. Please buy it, and spread the word! I found Folk Implosion and Lou Barlow through the Electric Idiot LP, which in and of itself didn't impress me very much: but out of all the albums I own, which number in the hundreds, and all the albums I've bought on iTunes, this is by far the best. I have never written an album review before, and I will probably never do it again, but I'll do it this once in order to highly recommend this album.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Indie rock fans are probably inclined to think of the Folk Implosion as the most prominent of Lou Barlow's many side projects from the influential indie band Sebadoh. But the reason for that prominence -- a left-field mainstream pop hit -- means that that description doesn't really reflect the general public's perception of the band. With partner John Davis, Barlow -- the king of lo-fi basement recording, usually noted for his sensitive introspection -- crafted a sexy, sinuous, electronic-tinged...
Full Bio
One Part Lullaby, Folk Implosion
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