Folk Implosion Walk Thru Me 05361bf2 thumbnail 1024

Folk Implosion – Walk Thru Me (Joyful Noise Recordings)

Folk Implosion may not be the most high profile project that Lou Barlow has been involved in – but it’s perhaps a little surprising to discover that the roots of the collaboration between Barlow and John Davis go back as far as 1989. Then Barlow had just been ejected from his role as bass player in Dinosaur Jr and was getting started with his own band, Sebadoh; Davis was a librarian and songwriter who has also worked as a teacher.

Still best known for their contribution to the soundtrack of the controversial 1996 film KidsNatural One‘ (their soundtrack to the film was finally released last year), the last studio album to be put out under the Folk Implosion moniker was their fourth album, 2003’s The New Folk Implosion. During lockdown, from their homes in Massachusetts and North Carolina, Barlow and Davis began working together again with support from producer Scott Solter (who’s also worked with the likes of St. Vincent, Spoon and The Mountain Goats) and over the course of several years Walk Thru Me came together.

If your main point of reference for Barlow’s work is Dinosaur Jr and Sebadoh, then it may come as a surprise just how much more mellow and laidback Folk Implosion sound by comparison. Sure it’s still (slightly) leftfield indie, but you won’t find an equivalent to the likes of ‘Freakscene‘ or ‘Gimme Indie Rock‘ here. That’s okay; we already have those, and what we’ve got is a rather more atmospheric record. It’s possibly even – whisper it – bordering on pop music in places.

I must admit that this album has taken quite a few listens to get my head around. Not because it’s impenetrable; on the contrary, at first it just seemed so slight that it kept retreating to the background. However, several listens have started to show its charms. At 37 minutes it doesn’t overstay its welcome (seriously, wasn’t that one of the biggest issues of the CD era?!) and while its creation may have been several years coming, the end result is focused.

Different lyrical themes abound – Barlow’s ‘My Little Lamb‘ deals with protective fatherhood, while Davis’ ‘The Day you Died‘ reflects on his complicated relationship with his father. Perhaps the strongest track here is ‘Water Torture‘ which features an eastern musical influence, and deals with the issues of empire. It is dark lyrically, but not necessarily so musically. Reportedly Davis has been taking Zoom lessons in middle eastern instruments; it’s certainly led to a new aspect to the project’s sound.

So, you may want to spend a few listens with this – I suggest taking the time just to focus on it rather than getting on with anything else – but the end result will be rewarding.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.