Foals “Holy Fire” (revised)

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Foals’ new album Holy Fire is much more diverse and intricate than their previous albums but most of all, this album finally adds organization into their list of strengths. The listening experience becomes more of a journey rather than a scavenger hunt. Magnetic indie rock band from England, Foals, is known for their relaxed, airy vocals seamlessly paired with complicated syncopation that occasionally ventures over the boarder into jam band tendencies. The expectation based upon the release of their debut album released in 2005, Antidotes, as well as the elusively catchy “Total Life Forever” was almost cookie cutter when it comes to the structure of songs; syncopated introduction flawlessly smoothed into reverbed vocals, complete with complicated guitar riff jam. However this new album breaks the mold and truly shows Foals’ ability to be diverse and still hold true to themselves.

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The album starts off with a mystical instrumental track entitled “Prelude” which opens the listeners pallet, taking them on a dynamic journey of relaxation and sudden explosion provided by guitar effects and island shakers, creating the perfect cruising music. This effectively alerts the listener to the peaks and dives awaiting them in later tracks such as “My Number”. This song catches a wave with up beat tempos and dueling guitar melodies, which elicits the involuntary response to bob one’s head. Commending the album solely on their guitar riff originality is easy, however it is the simplicity in the added instruments that sets the album ablaze. On tracks such as “Late Night” and “Out of the Woods” Foals demonstrate their proclivity for percussion, creating a mix of plucks and taps with different string and wood instruments, cut at odd yet perfect points with soothing vocals and guitar patterns pulling every brush stroke together to one extraordinary work of art.

What sets this album apart from others is how strategically the tracks are placed within it. When listening to every song in sequence the listener gets a perfect balance of perky and solemn, sweet and sour, inspirational and catchy avoiding a dreaded “skip” from track to track. “Inhaler” is the first track after the prelude witch is catchy and at some points grungy in its guitar effects and harmonies, leaving a salty kind of after taste, then “Bad Habit” is sweet with synthesizer and long smooth melody and clear hook. This album has a knack for playing with the listener’s perception. An seemingly up beat and soothing song is entitled “Bad Habit” with lyrics of “cause I’m a bad habit, one that you cannot shake” This is an androgynous album that is much more than meets the eye, encouraging the listener to take more of initiative in interpreting their own meanings in each song.

Foals new album Holy Fire not only surpasses past albums but also divulges into a wider range of musical intricacy. The music is relaxing yet exciting, catchy yet different, and in all honesty is full of contradictions, but it is all of these contradictions that make the album so dynamic and appealing.

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Posted on March 11, 2013, in Per Scuola. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You describe the music really well go into depth about the feeling of the music and its instrumentation. But it would be nice if you made a couple comparisons to other bands who are similar. You say they’re in the indie rock genre, so we can assume some things, and you give some good, descriptive words… but at the same time I was left wanting a reference to a couple of other bands! And/or the band’s influences. Other than that, I really enjoyed your review!

  2. reichertpowell

    I agree with Tanisha that your writing is vivid but without some comparative anchor points it’s a little hard to figure out exactly what to hear in your head . . . . “airy vocals seamlessly paired with complicated syncopation that occasionally ventures over the boarder into jam band tendencies” is pretty specific and yet I don’t know if I should be picturing Dave Matthews band or maybe Speaking in Tongues-era Talking Heads or Gomez? All of whom could be seen as fitting that model . . . one quick way to solve this besides throwing in a couple of context-setting references is to LINK to a video or an audio track online somewhere? I think one of the best things about reviewing online is that you can set it up so your reader can actually listen to the music while reading the review.

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