Total Life Forever
This CD starts out with a slow minimal movement, airy guitar picks and stuttered beats underneath a very plaintive and mournful Band Of Horses styled vocal. The music slowly fills and builds and spills into a indie jazz touched pop beat, but sadder. Tortoise meets Gene Loves Jezebel. Darkwave math rock with a slice of funk.
I admit that I didn’t give the previous release from this Oxford-based band much of a listen, so I don’t know how it compares. By most accounts that I have read, it is similar, and it is slightly better. I feel, by listening to just this, that Foals definitely have a good sound and a great direction, but they are not quite where they want to be. There are moments that just feel a little too random. Production is great, the sounds are lush and full, but there is room to grow and move into even better songs.
That being said, this is a very comfortable album. It’s upbeat, but not overly happy. There are strong references to Talking Heads-touched beats and rhythms from 1979 or 1980. These grooves shift and slide into some TV On The Radio smoothness, and interestingly enough, the previous album was produced by TVOTR’s Dave Sitek. The band said no thanks and went in another direction for this release, but hints of the dynamics still flow through.
Halfway across this expanse of an album, you fall into “Spanish Sahara,” a song that whispers and softly turns into an ocean’s roar. It’s songs like this that could push Foals up into that realm that falls somewhere between Snow Patrol and Keane, or possibly even further, as there is a sense of sincerity here that keeps it from being too calculated. There isn’t enough of this, though, as the next song suddenly falls back into 2005 or so, sounding like something that could have almost made it on to Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm.
There’s a little more electronic prog rock sound that creeps up to hover underneath those indie energetic beats, and Foals tend to remain a little more on the smooth and rounded side, as opposed to the sharp angles of Bloc Party. That, however, is quite alright. I don’t think we need another Bloc Party.
Foals still have some growing to do, but that’s evident in their name; perhaps when the next album comes out they will be able to change their name to The Horses.
Okay, just joking, but seriously, this is a welcoming album, and this band manages to make you feel as if you are actually listening to something new and good and real, even though you are hopeful for something even better in the future.
More by this writer:
The Pack A.D. - We Kill Computers
Grupo Fantasma - El Existential
UNKLE - Where Did the Night Fall
Night Driving in Small Towns - Serial Killer