So if it wasn’t already apparent, I am a massive Foals fan. I’ve had this album, their new one, on pre-order for three months prior to it’s release; it arrived today and I screamed in excitement. A bit of background knowledge for those unfamiliar with Foals: met at Oxford University, dropped out after the band formed, began playing house parties, quickly got signed, first album in 2008 (Antidotes), second in 2010 (Total Life Forever) and finally Holy Fire in 2013, known for their insane live performances and loyal following of avid fans.
Foals are well known for their math-rock style, quick beats and unusual rhythms in a loud, pop-like setting. What’s not to love? I appreciate that they are a band that have built up a loyal following (a very loyal following), and it seems to me like a lot of people who aren’t fans haven’t even vaguely listening – what I’m meaning to say is, you love it or “meh”. As such a fan, I feel their most easily accessible songs are ones such as Red Sock Pugie from Antidotes, Black Gold or This Orient from Total Life Forever, although their growing plethora of back-catalogue is inspiring enough and perhaps just Spotify-ing the most listened to songs will give those with less listening experience of the band a taster of why they are so rated by their fans. And in a live setting, everything gets ten times more intense – definitely worth a ticket (sought after but actually not too expensive) if you get the chance!
The new album brings forward their distinctive style and really hits the spot, unusual beats, easy build-ups, scratching guitars and flawless musicianship, but what will make this different? Foals have grown exponentially from their first album, Antidotes, from minimal math rhythms and obscure lyrics into something perhaps more mainstream, but building on their well-known style into something new. The embracement of a thicker sound, built up with more texture and a more liberal spread of synthesised sounds means that the incline towards the peak of the “hit” songs really gets the adrenaline going.
I think the typical thing to do when one of your favourite bands brings out a new album is to disregard their evolving sound, or to embrace it and love it even more, and to be honest I don’t really know how this couldn’t be lived more. Harking back to something more like Total Life Forever, Foals have developed further an brought forward their sound while maintaining their style.
Listen to Milk & Black Spiders or Providence as to reasons why you should be as big a Foals fan as I am. They also recently played a live show for BBC’s 6music, which I’m sure can be found online.
I also realise that it may be obvious I could never find any fault with this album, but you should listen to it anyway, whether or not you agree with my objectivity.