From J. Mascis in Dinosaur Jr., Jason Lowenstein (and later Bob Fay) in Sebadoh and John Davis in the Folk Implosion, Lou Barlow has worked (and fought) with his bandmates. In fact, his ability to play nice in the sandbox practically defines his career. But the “new” Folk Implosion is all Barlow, and the music is much poorer for it.
Mulish and prone to adolescent whining, without a foil Barlow is free to indulge all his worst instincts. At the Troubadour, playing to a thin and unenthusiastic audience, Barlow led his band in a feckless performance whose most appealing feature was its brevity.
They’re a powerless trio who would like to play heavy metal, only they lack the courage of their convictions. The material from “The New Folk Implosion” (iMusic) would be entropic, if Barlow could only summon the energy. Emotionally foreshortened, in Barlow’s consciousness 9/11 (“Fuse”) registers no differently as a fight with his wife (“Creature of Salt”). The scant, 35-minute set feels like being cornered by a bore who is so self-absorbed he prattles on, not noticing you’ve nodded off.