Fol Chen, 'Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made' (Asthmatic Kitty)

Critical Mass
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by Josh Modell

There's intriguing mystery in Fol Chen's debut, andnot just because the Los Angeles group isn't keen on press photos. It could turn out they're janitors -- art students is more likely -- but that won't change how enticing and vexing these songs are. John Shade moves with composure and ease through arch, almost dour indie pop ("The Believers") as well as joyous dollops of Of Montreal–inspired electro pop. The sexily deadpan "Cable TV" brings all the moods together, celebrating the joys of cheap motel rooms and Janet Jackson songs with boop-beeps, handclaps, and a wry smile.

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