By Benjamin J.N. Harrison
In the Internet age, where the amount of available music online is expanding at an ever-increasing rate, sifting through heaps of banal imitations and uninspired refuse to find one noteworthy new artist is commonplace; the feeling of gratification, however, which accompanies such a discovery is incomparable. It’s a feeling that washes away any sense of guilt for scouring the Internet for hours in search of something fresh, a feeling that rewards the listener for their patience. At least, this was the case for me when I discovered Folie and her newest single, “Les Bean”, featuring William Crooks, a near-perfect experimental mélange of many of the trends currently permeating the underground electronic and pop scene.
“Les Bean” is a vulnerable track about feelings of confusion and loss. Although sonically, it’s behind the guise of distorted and occasionally jarring melodies, the lyrics Folie auto-croons through in the chorus of the song are strikingly revealing; she references what I can only assume is some sort of difficult and cold relationship, in which an outline of a clear lack of understanding is provided: “Misreading all my whims/You know I’m a lesbian/Seeing through my skin/She doesn’t let me in/I never wanted in/I never wanted in”. The psychic intensity is indubitable, with Folie yelping as if for a cry of help, or at least for compassion she is not receiving. Vocally, to me, Folie is very reminiscent of Laura Les of 100 Gecs, with similar pitch-shifting and frenetic emotion in her voice.
The William Crooks feature is a noteworthy addition to the track; he tackles the verse of the track, musing about feelings of depression and isolation. Particularly powerful are Crooks’ ending lines, in which he hopelessly contemplates the confusion he faces about the intended direction in his life; his pitch-shifted voice floats pathetically above the beat of the track, emphasizing the direness of his situation. While I wish some of the lyrical concepts here were explored to a greater extent, as there is no clear focus but general melancholy, I find it hard to complain too much, as the emotion carrying the lyrics practically makes up for it.
The instrumentation of the track is brash and occasionally off tempo, but simultaneously exquisite and elegant; combining many of the trends permeating the current state of electropop and electronic à la PC Music, as well as those found in certain camps of hip-hop, “Les Bean” is an oddly gorgeous and unique experience. It begins in an almost industrial-sounding fashion and transitions into a frantic pop dream (or perhaps nightmare) found on the most obscure corners of Bandcamp. By the end, the listener is enchanted and craves more. At least, that was the case for me. According to Apple Music, I have listened to the track twenty-six times, and I anticipate that number merely to grow throughout these next few weeks.