By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Singer-songwriter Daniel Folmer is nothing if not prolific. Every time audiences digest an album from the young hockey player, he's got another to throw out. And it's nothing short of a thrill to watch and hear someone wield the pen and a pick with talent that just keeps growing more and more potent.
Last year, Folmer doled out the consistent and satisfying A Leaf, and with his newest offering, The Roaring Twenties, he stays true to his own brand of dramatic, obsessive (realistic, not creepy), romantically spirited lyricism ("Skin & Bones," "Prison Guard" and "Roaring Twenties" are lyrical as well as melodic highlights), while showing even more skill at the musical self-edit—something that many writers never master.
From "On Fire," with its tambourine-laden acoustic meanderings, clear through to electro-lullaby closer "Speed of Light," Folmer pushes his songs to the brink without ever coming off heavy-handed. Each strum is thoughtful, not over-thought. Every effect seems appropriate even if unexpected.
Employing mid-century lounge organ ("City Sold Its Soul to Ben E Keith"), steel guitar ("Danny"), electronic glitches and other elements, Twenties could easily lose focus and seem like a sort of mixed-media, try-everything project. But the collection of 13 indie-pop tracks (all under three and a half minutes long) are finely tuned and cohesive—an intoxicating brew of styles and instrumentation matching Folmer's lyrics and evoking the emotions that one just might have in their own, um, roaring twenties.