Foals explore new horizons without compromising sound
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 23:02
Although their earlier songs will always hold a special place in my music library, the Foals’ newest album, “Holy Fire,” takes on new sounds and horizons for the band’s expansion and artistry.
The first time I heard Foals was on two different British TV shows: “Skins” and “Misfits.” There’s a secret party scene in Skins featuring “Hummer” from their first album, “Antidote,” showing a group of kids partying like I’ve never seen. A year ago, I began looking into the band and was pleased to find many songs that I deeply enjoy for musicality, lyrics and style. Ranging from dance songs that are just fun to go crazy to more personal songs that cut right to the heart, Foals satisfies many moods and music styles.
I’m happy to say that their newest album does not disappoint and stays true to their unique sound. It begins with “Prelude,” a number that incorporates their ethereal and dreamy guitar, and with their heavy hitting drum lines, I was already swaying to the music half a minute into the album. Following that, “Inhaler” was an interesting new sound the band developed with the synthesized singing and heavily distorted power chords. I call it musical genius. Yannis Philippakis’s voice seems cramped and overshadowed by the music until he yells out, “I can’t enough space,” at which point the song opens wide with guitar riffs that are still pretty low and grungy for the high-pitched guitar these musicians typically use. They return to their usual upbeat dance beats with “My Number,” a song that is solely about letting go and having fun.
While there are songs more melodic and softly produced on their debut, “Total Life Forever” singles like “Blue Blood” and “Miami” still embrace a post-punk terminology, high fretboard riffs, broken-up drumming and verses and choruses fitting in odd angles. But this CD hosts a number of pop-heavy songs like “Bad Habit” and “Everytime.” I couldn’t help but bob my head to songs like “Out of the Woods,” pretend to drum along to “Milk and Black Spiders” or sway to “Moon.” Though Philipakis’ voice is becoming more versatile and expressive, his lyrics don’t hold the same depth the way the first two albums did. Most of the album proved the Oxford band’s ability to be more emotionally substantial and idiosyncratic than any of their mainstream peers.