When I first heard about New Jersey’s Folly, I was told that their music is two parts mosh, one part skank. For the most part, that is true about the genre bending songs on their newest release “Insanity Later.” However, to say they are one-third ska is a gross overstatement.
For the most part, Folly is a hardcore band that occasionally breaks down into a more hardcore punk element. Little blips of ska are thrown in to mix it up and in the end it usually sounds pretty good. Take the first song “Please Don’t Shoot the Piano Player He’s Doing the Best He Can.” It explodes from the speakers and listening to it is as pleasant as getting beat to death by a bag of bricks…but in a good way. A little ways into the song, Folly makes the transition into the ska sound, and they pull it off perfectly considering the jump they have to make. A brilliant aspect of their music is that most of the time, just because it’s a ska sound doesn’t mean that there are happy vocals to go along with it. The screaming persists and this is a good thing (sort of) in my eyes as nothing is cooler than a hideous scream to accompany music that is too light for it.
I put the sort of in there because my main argument with Folly is the vocals. His shriek can be a bit overbearing sometimes as it sounds like he is constantly being murdered and this is his last dying shriek, over and over again. Sometimes, like on the track “Repeat, I Repeat, Repeat” the horribleness of the scream gets exemplified on their ska sections. So it is cool in the sense that it is a screaming ska, but a better scream would be better.
That aside, Folly have some great musical work as they transition from the various genres they employ to make their music what it is. Sometimes, like on “Serenity Now!” they use guitar work that goes straight from a brutal pounding along typical of hardcore to an eerie harmony consistent with most metalcore groups, yet they blend the two perfectly. Granted, it is not much of a jump to make, but the jump is invisible because the switch is so seamless. On the last track “Weak and the Wounded” they flash between ska and hardcore punk and hardcore so fast it is mind-boggling.
In the end, “Insanity Later” is a very solid album and very innovative in the world of hardcore. Aside from the less than stellar vocals, the only other thing bad thing with the album is the length. Where as I normally complain about the standard 20 minute efforts from most bands, Folly churns out over 40 minutes worth of material here, but with many of the songs clocking in at over four minutes, it can be a bit much and the song looses it punch because it drags on so long. Other than those two things, I highly recommend the album to all hardcore fans.