Foliage is based out of San Bernardino, California and spearheaded by Manuel Joseph Walker. Walker is something of a dream pop prodigy – his debut album, Truths, came out in 2015 when he was only 16 years old. The LP was extremely well-received, as was his sophomore LP, Silence, which came out last year. Both albums feature cleverly wrought songs that feel well beyond his years.
On III, set for release on April 20, Walker continues to distill Foliage's signature jangle pop sound with skill and clarity. In every way, the project sounds tighter and more fully realized than ever. Production is on point, and the attention to detail is wonderful. Every element, no matter how small, feels deliberately placed and the song structures are streamlined to perfection. III also brims with outstanding hooks -- the hallmark of first-rate jangle pop – and Walker’s vocals sound confident and clear in the mix.
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It’s difficult to talk about pop gems like these without referencing some of the great songcrafters of yesteryear. To my ears, the golden threads of The Smiths’ influence are subtly woven throughout the album. The heyday of Sarah Records echoes palpably, and early Wild Nothing and The Wake come to mind time and again. Foliage takes up the torch of artfully executed jangle pop, embracing the timeless elements while also contributing fresh tones and nuances with great success.
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On “Decision”, it feels like things might take a darker turn, but the chorus changes pace and catapults you into the clouds with yet another fantastic hook. The gentle tones of “Value” are soothing and reflective, while the sparkling guitar work on “League” is beguiling and nothing short of impressive. “I’ll Miss You” is a synth-tinged jewel and the album closer, “Let’s Go Home” is another mellow, catchy groove showcasing Walker’s fantastic vocals. His vox on previous albums felt more in line with a fuzzier, bedroom pop style, but he has really stepped it up on III with skillfully delivered vocals that hold their own amid the clever instrumentation.
A video was just released for the delightfully nostalgic album tune, “The Other Day”, which you can watch below. Earnest and simple with its throwback 80s vibe, the video is simply impossible not to love -- much like the whole of III. Pre-order your copy now or pick it up this Friday on Foliage's Bandcamp page -- highly recommended release of 2018!