Review: Foliage - "Truths"

Foliage - Truths
(2015 Human Sounds)

Maybe I'm a little too young to feel nostalgic, but there's something about Foliage's debut LP that sends me back to the first half of 2012, around the time I first started this blog. Age 14 was what I consider to be a pivotal point in my life, one marked by change and anticipation. I attended a small Catholic school populated by about two-hundred students, few of whom lived anywhere near me. Though at the time, like most kids, I was beginning to discern what sort of person I was and what sort of interests I wanted to pursue, I felt more limited than ever. The world of shoegaze and art had been opened up to me via the internet, yet I had no means of getting physically within range of it without a driver's license or connections. I spent much of my time waiting for things to happen - field trips, birthdays, school dances. Life is pretty boring as a 14 year old and you have to set up benchmarks, events to look towards to get you through the week. Not surprisingly, I associate many of the bands I listened to at that age (Wild Nothing, Craft Spells, Airiel) with a feeling of anticipation. While being ferried to school or a friend's house in our grey minivan, while waiting to be picked up, while squandering free time over the weekend, chillwave-y bedroom pop was playing in the background. 

Hearing Truths for the first time was like finding a box of old toys in the attic or scanning a yearbook. Wrapping my conscious in a cloak of reverb, the album revived old emotions, some pleasant, some of them cringe-inducing. Foliage's M Joseph Walker has the uncanny ability draw pathos from his listener, creating an atmosphere that is both airy and impactful. He'll loop droney guitar riffs for just long enough to let you to snuggle up in their warmth, and then suddenly you'll be hit by a chill inducing chord change or twinkly, chorus-laden melody. The precision of his craft is staggering. Walker's vocal delivery reminds me of Justin Vallesteros' echoey croon as Craft Spells' frontman. They add yet another layer of woozy ambience to an already dreamy album, one made to drift off to in the passenger seat, gazing out the window.