Foliage: Take

Take is The fourth album by the San Bernardino songwriter, Manuel Joseph Walker, coming a year and a half after the much enjoyable III, again on the roster of the classy Z Tapes Records.

With four records already under his belt while still in his early twenties, Foliage has long established himself as one of the most bright and rosy underground dreampop acts, and with each new endeavor he keeps certifying his aptness and knack for a wistful indie pop sound akin to twee pop greats of the past, bands like The Field Mice, The Pastels and Heavenly. Contrasting to the overflow of the more modern R&B-inclined peers of his, the self taught Foliage turns his focus on jangly, shoegazey and sweetly heavyhearted indie rock, the kind which has been tried and tested, and which ages well by all means.

With Take Foliage targets issues such as mental health, OCD, serentity - the lack of it and the search for it, self-harm and optimism. Due to the intimate and solemn nature of his subjects, Take feels and sounds like a very private record, in all likelihood Foliage's most personal of the four thus far. Still, Manuel's delivery balances the whole covertness of his themes, as it comes across very much inviting, letting the listener in without reluctance.

Composed of ten crisp, tightly structured tracks, Take was fully written, recorded, engineered and performed in its entirety by Manuel Joseph Walker. Whether it is for the janglier, more energetic parts of the record like the opening Pattern and To Tell You: I Love You, or the more tranquil ones such as Mother's Day and Talk to Me, the new album is full of standouts, and then again not so much, since enjoying Take en masse seems like the best way to do it.

Walker likes returning to his compositions, coming up with alternate renditions of his own artistry. In cases such as the aforementioned Pattern and its reprise version which brings the album to a closure, as well as the two parts of Song To Myself, Foliage's writing prospers through its plurality, laying out more than a few facets of his ingenuity.

Foliage admittedly treats Take as as a tool for self-help, but beyond that major intent, the album can be a positive experience for anyone who dives into its contemplation.

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