If you want to feel like you are moving on with your life, The False Alarms is the perfect set of running shoes. Fol Chen essentially coat gooey pop confections with a hard shell of hypermodernity. IOU sounds like the music 15 year olds will listen to in a hundred years. The OCD-like busy programming may owe a debt to the minimalists like Glass and Reich, but also plants a finely turned heel in the the same post-RnB landscape as Dirty Projectors. The synthetic and synthesised come together on A Tourist Town with its glossy three-dimensional production as well as its incorporation of faux-exotic sitar sounds (we also dig the little Once in a Lifetime reference at the end). And what’s that sound not unlike plastic guitar strings struck very precisely by a mouse, with teaspoons?
It’s fun too that it always sounds like there are two or three lead vocals happening, and that it’s augmented by some sort of filtering or ring modulation. In fact almost nothing escapes augmentation, giving these happy pills a chilly backstory. You get the feeling that Fol Chen are impatient to completely evaporate into the ether(net). This Place Is On TV reminds me that the TV game show goons we lampooned 20 years ago are now us all – the rictus grinning avatars with which we represent ourselves on social networks. And now this sweet pop music is causing all my alarms to go off.