Review Summary: Folly's first release proves to be a valiant one. This CD offers a bright future for the NJ hardcore/ska group.
New Jersey contains one of the biggest hardcore and ska scenes around. With Folly's release Insanity Later,
they combine brutal hardcore music with ska and create a unique sound. They are the first hardcore and ska band to really stand out as a force in the music world. I am sure there are other bands, but the question is do they do it as well? I doubt it.
The CD kicks off with “The Morning Song” which is simple but yet so effective with simple guitar work and soft drumming. A placid and calm song blend swiftly into, “Please, Don’t Shoot the Piano Player, He’s Doing the Best He Can.” It begins with a descending scale on both guitar and bass with accompanied screaming. The song is a rollercoaster, switching moods every twenty seconds or so, and it is hard to stay on track. It swings from a menacing hardcore part to a calm ska line into another hardcore riff. In addition, within the first 2 minutes, you have decided whether you like the singer or not. He has a very high-pitched singing voice that can be quite annoying, but decent screaming vocals, in my opinion. Just when you think the song is over with beautiful guitar work, BREAKDOWN. While this is all good and gravy for my likings, it may be a turn-off to have such sudden changes and random song structure at time.
The best part about Folly is that their songs sound nothing alike. Yes, they may have the same brutality and softness, but it never sounds alike. They always find a part in the song that makes that song especially stand out. Such an example is presented in “Repeat, I Repeat, Repeat.” The intro riff is a simple 3-note pattern with a chugga-chugga-chugga that sticks in your head like glue. The song continues gracefully and ends with a nice metal/hardcore/whatever section to complete the song.
The songs on Insanity Later
never stay at the same style of music. Throughout the whole length of any song, it never stays as a true hardcore or ska song. A perfect example goes for “I’ve Been Running For Miles, Davis” as it goes up and down like a rollercoaster in different styles of music. This song is the weakest out of the first five songs due to the inconsistency between styles.
The next song is, “Discussion for the Pigs,” which is the best song on the album. It is a vicious song that contains extremely heavy parts at times that make you want to punch anyone next to you. The song starts with a nice chromatic series of notes one by one into chords of the same notes at different note lengths. It breaks into a nice harmony between the two guitars without any drumming, bass, or vocals, which adds some flavor to the song. As it continues, it builds up to an insane breakdown that if you have a nice stereo system, you will want to flaunt. As it progresses, it makes nice transitions into a ska section and finishes off into a little drum part that is pleasant after your ear drums have been slightly damaged.
As for the rest of the record, “The Last Letters We Ever Wrote,” “Serenity Now!,” and “The Weak and the Wounded” wrap up the rest of the quality songs on the album. The other songs left are good songs, but none as elite as the ones clearly mention so far. All of the songs have great transitions into different sections and really give you a new, fresh style of music that you will learn to love. If I had to pick an overall worst track, it would be “Pterodactyls in America,” simple because it is lacking motivation and drive, it’s quite dull. It has a sloppy intro that I am not favorable of that just lags the song for the whole duration in my point of view.
Overall, as I look back at this album there are similar themes presented within the album that may be boring and lacking to many. The coherence is there in some places but lacking in another. It is something that a young band learns to fix as they progress. The reason I am fond of this album is it is different. They created a sound that was new to me, and I loved it. Folly has not been along long, but their presence is slowly building around the country with each listen to this album.
Pros - First five tracks.
Excellent transitions in the songs, better than many bands that try to do similar stuff.
Musicians of all instruments are all above average in playing ability and they show it.
Cons - Singer is so-so at trying to sing.
Some tracks are lacking.
Possibly too many transitions?
For a debut album, it was fantastic, 4 out of 5.