La Folie

Risus Sardonicus

Written by: PP on 16/05/2010 01:51:06

Art and innovation are at the heart of Sheffield, UK based La Folie's debut album "Risus Sardonicus". So are lunacy and flat out weirdness. Their self-proclaimed psychedelic circus rock'n'roll perfectly describes how the album sounds like, easily nominating it as one of the most original compositions I've heard all year long. But what exactly is "circus rock'n'roll"? Imagine members of gypsy punkers Gogol Bordello, saloon-rockers Foxy Shazam, and emo/indie hipsters Brand New starting a band together to embody the sounds and moods of a traveling circus on an album. Then imagine that bunch playing a show in one of the caravans on the move while shifting to another location, specifically during the moment that the whole spectacle crashes down a mountain in one lengthy, noisy, explosive rolling movement, and you've pretty much got a good idea of how "Risus Sardonicus" sounds like.

Yes, the band do belong to the gypsy music genre, specifically into the hardcore sub section of it given the frenetic vocal delivery full of raw strain (see Crime In Stereo here). The haters can probably accuse them of a cheap attempt to clone the success of Gogol Bordello, but there's just no way around accepting that "Risus Sardonicus" is just so different from anything else out there that it receives commendation for that fact alone. It's rowdy and unpredictable, placing a dangerous rock'n'roll vibe to the base of their sound, and it's characterized by accordion-madness all around the album. There are elements from post-hardcore, screamed vocals, time signature changes, and other neat tricks to make it really, and I mean REALLY stick out from the bunch, and when everything is combined together, it really does sound like a circus flying down the staircase while starting a saloon-fight in the process.

The focus is on the cheerful accordion melodies that should bring back nostalgic memories of Theme Park's carousel music (one of the best computer games ever, by the way), but vocalist Nick's crazed scream is what makes the songs work coherently together. It's all a bit spastic, but somehow the band avoids sounding completely crazy (like some of Mike Patton's projects for example) and instead come across as a band who have found their own identity very early on. But it has to be said, the term insane is not very far away, at all.


Download: Interlopers, Apples, Arachnophobia
For the fans of: Foxy Shazam, Gogol Bordello, Crime In Stereo, Brand New
Listen: Myspace

Release date 05.04.2010
Tufty Records

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