It’s a bit difficult at times to see the distinctions between all of Richie Follin’s projects. While Guards is not a solo project, per se, Follin is the only regular member. He is a part of Cults and the Willowz and has recorded solo under his full name, Richie James Follin. Loren Shane Humphrey, another member of the Willowz, occasionally joins him in Guards, as does his sister and co-Cults rocker Madeline Follin. The man has done a remarkable job of managing his Internet presence, and very little information can be gathered about him or his projects. His music, on the other hand, is far more expressive.
The Guards page on Bandcamp tags itself as “alternative doom new wave power pop rock & roll New York.” For the original Guards work, this is a fairly accurate description. For the three new covers released yesterday, however, it doesn’t even begin to address the transformative effect Follin’s style has on the songs.
He turns M.I.A.‘s “Born Free” into a surprising piece of surf-grunge, reminiscent of the first time you heard the Willowz, watching Mark Ruffalo and Kirsten Dunst dancing stoned on the bed in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There’s a considerable slowdown on the covers of Metallica‘s “Motorbreath” and Vampire Weekend‘s “Taxi Cab,” but to fantastic effect. The “doom” tag shines through on the Metallica cover, and “Taxi Cab” delivers amazingly on the melancholy of the song’s lyrics. Download all three below.