La Folie – Risus Sardonicus Album Review

The success enjoyed by Gogol Bordello over the past decade has inspired a sizeable amount of inferior impersonators. The incorporation of “gulag” instrumentation (organ, accordion etc) into standard rock band format doesn’t necessarily indicate sophistication or cleverness. In many cases, it’s quite the opposite. Take La Folie’s debut album as a case in point. They’ve fully embraced the gypsy punk aesthetic, perhaps expectant of distinguishing themselves from more conventional peers, but end up sounding trite, tired and annoying. No track encapsulates what is awful about Risus Sardonicus (a symptom of tetanus that causes the sufferers face to spasm into a grin, something you won’t do much of whilst listening to La Folie) better than the album closer, Madame Palm. The jam finishes on the nine minute mark, about eight minutes after it should have. In trying to instil a carnival-like atmosphere, La Folie end up sounding clownish. Sitting through eleven tracks of this is hard, exhausting work.



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