Freddie Matthews writes from London: Oxford band Foals return with album number 3, which isn’t exactly a giant leap for mankind but a progression all the same.
It doesn’t actually seem that long ago that Foals released their debut album, Antidotes, back in March 2008. The band actually started putting the album together in New York. Well if you can then why wouldn’t you eh? They mostly worked with producer Dave Sitek from the band TV On The Radio. The band later decided to mix the album themselves as they thought that Sitek made them sound as if the album was recorded in the Grand Canyon, although they did part on good terms. Upon its release, Antidotes charted at No. 3 in the UK album chart.
Although an impressive debut, Foals still required direction that they eventually found in time for their second album, Total Life Forever. Now this was one hell of a seriously inspired album. It’s said that the ‘so called’ second album is the hardest to produce because a band doesn’t have that new sound and intrigue once they’re on to album number two. Yes, the second album has been make or break for many artists over past decades but Foals proved that they were at the top of their game when they released Total Life Forever in May 2010. The album, produced by Luke Smith, included 3 singles: This Orient, Miami and Blue Blood but none of them did the album proud in the singles chart. This was the album to truly bring Foals to the music media’s attention. It was nominated for the 2010 Mercury Music prize, which was an accolade in itself. Total Life Forever was nominated for many awards including NME’s Best Album, Best Album Artwork and Best Track for what is one of the finest songs ever written from an ‘indie’ pen, the stunning Spanish Sahara. If there’s one song you MUST listen to or download in 2013, and if you’ve got this far into this article, then please promise me you’ll listen to Spanish Sahara, by Foals, from their last album Total Life Forever. You’ll understand why once listened to.
Now, on to the brand new album Holy Fire, by Foals. The first thing you’ll hear is instant accessibility and immediacy. This album has a lot more attitude than the last which was slightly more chilled. Holy Fire is darker and almost heavier but not the heavy you’d associate with metal. It’s certainly ‘not’ that kind of heavy.
The main point is that Foals still sound like Foals and that couldn’t be better news for fans of the band.
As on the last album, Holy Fire has some truly inspired songs:
Late Night is my favourite but probably because it is highly reminiscent of Spanish Sahara. WOW how do Foals do that? It’s perfect songwriting with total vulnerability. It grips its musical claws into my ears and won’t let go.
Out Of The Woods is a song that if I were asked, ‘Who are Foals?’ I’d play this song as the best way to describe the answer to such a question without saying a word.
Inhaler, the first single to introduce the world to the new album, is edgy indie, with a distinctive chorus that almost drags you in kicking and screaming.
My Number, the second single from the album is another belter, it’s multi-layered yet simple.
Moon, just because it’s beautiful, it reminds me of Glasvegas.
Providence is the last track I’m singling out from Holy Fire because it’s very different to all that’s gone before. It’s mad and I’d imagine the true fans will be shouting for this to be played at every Foals gig or festival appearance for the rest of the year. It’s raw, frenzied, with the repeated lyric, ’I’m an animal, Just like you’, it reminds me of Public Image Limited but there’s something about this song that makes me want to leave it on repeat.
Holy Fire isn’t the last we’ll hear from Foals but it certainly confirms their intent and places them firmly in the grasp of the indie music scene.
There’s no doubting the fact that Foals are getting better by the album and Holy Fire will only increase the band’s popularity and accessibility.
The guitar bands are coming back.