Holy Fire

Written by Dean Forte

Oxford indie dance lads Foals, have released the follow-up to their much lauded album Total Life Forever, just in time for their tour for the Big Day Out festival.

Slow-burning album intro Prelude sets the mood for what is an early contender for Album of the Year with its mesmerising guitar loops and rumbling bass, which gives rise to an increase in tempo and volume at its midpoint. The theme of soft to loud continues with lead single Inhaler – which, upon its preview late last year, whetted the appetite of fans everywhere with its slow crescendo that builds to each chorus before the wall of fuzz and distortion crunch the listener from every angle. If Foals had intended to have jaws dropping and mouths frothing upon its debut, it had surely succeeded.

What is sure to be an indie disco anthem, My Number’s beats are a difficult proposition to ignore. What will no doubt be a highlight of their live show for many a year to come, dancing the night away to a song like this should almost be considered a rite of passage. Everytime follows a similar vein, but whilst not an out-and-out banger like My Number, its subtle pop inner workings make it a real treat to the ears.

Things slow down for the aptly titled Late Night, where the disco beats shift to mellow keyboard chords and beats that compliment the soft vocals of Yannis Philippakis, it would indeed top off an excellent evening with a nightcap on a balcony overlooking a city at dawn, with the bright lights of sky scrapers and traffic signals signalling a city slowly waking up.

Another highlight is the epic back half of Milk & Black Spiders, with its soaring synth overtones that build from humble beginnings to what could be considered the peak of the album. One can only imagine the insanity of bearing witness to its live version. Providence on the other hand feels like a scene of organised chaos, with seemingly hundreds of different ideas thrown together into the one song. Not that it’s a bad thing (The Mars Volta have successfully done this for years) but sandwiched between the bliss of Milk & Black Spiders and the downbeat Stepson, its influence on the listener is somewhat limited by the different states that you feel prior to and post Stepson.

The minimalist sound of album closer Moon contrasts the many different styles showcased throughout the album. Not focusing on the indie anthems, or the beauty of some of its more poignant moments, Foals have created an album that twists and turns at every available corner. With an array of sounds at their disposal, who knows where Foals are headed, but in the meantime, you would be a fool to miss them at their upcoming Big Day Out shows.

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