Creating concept LPs about a post-disaster, futuristic state infected by a word-eating virus, sounds, on paper, like it’s on a level of sheer tedium akin to a Gary Numan unfinished novel. Luckily, mystery-cloaked sextet Fol Chen know how to avoid such pitfalls, following last year’s ‘Part I’ with a fascinating record as adventurous sonically as it is in theme. On ‘In Ruins’, Karin Tatoyan’s vocals dance playfully in the “acid rain” while ‘The Holograms’ brings to mind recent Mew – the detuned funk and dark pop shot through with random digital noise and ghosts-in-the machine eeriness. Crisp production gives the diverse, often Eastern instrumentation space to breathe, bringing Fol Chen’s fictional world to life with depth and colour. Even sans narrative, it feels like a world in which to immerse yourself and emerge somehow changed, checking nervously for the microchip under your skin.

By Gordon Anderson

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