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Dan Friel is a happy noisemaker, in that his music has the odd feature of possessing a charm that is bright and sunny, even though the music itself is heavy and distorted. It is exactly this anachronistic approach that makes Total Folklore, his latest album, an oddly hypnotic, addictive album of sunny day noise. He gets the big epic out of the way instantly, presenting the overpoweringly heavy, twelve-minute epic “Ulysses” as the first track. Perhaps it is a litmus test for the listener; if you can sustain yourself through that, then you’ll be rewarded with a bountiful supply of riches. After that, the collages of noise are substantially shorter, but yet, it’s hard not to find a certain charm with “Velocipede,” with primitive video game beats peeking through the curtains of Boredoms style electric noise. There’s a rhythm to “Scavengers” that is oddly addictive, too, and “Badlands,” which, unfortunately is not the Bruce Springsteen song, feels valedictory in its closing of the album. Admittedly, Friel’s noise is not for everyone, but if you listen hard enough, you’ll feel oddly happier afterward. Total Folklore is a deceptive record; you think you’re hearing noise, but when you listen between the waves of sound, you’ll find a record that will leave you oddly positive and uplifted.
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