| POSTED BY: JOE PUGLISI
Torches arrives just in time to elevate Foster The People from promise to potency. They are a near perfect hybrid of early MGMT and 2011 trend, certainly enough to be put on the radio and every respectable multi-stage bill this summer. Full of whistles and grin-inducing hooks, it's hard to deny the appeal of Mark Foster's band; they fire on all the right cylinders, and the songs are lean and speedy. Wisely including the excellent three songs off their eponymous EP, the band expands on their sound with some excellent pop writing across the board. Welcome to the soundtrack of your summer.
Foster The People are yet another in a long line of well-circulated "indie" acts on a major before their debut (in this case, Columbia). The label is right to put their chips on this band. "Pumped Up Kicks" is a summer blockbuster, and as they pump it up at festivals around the country, the kids will spread their name like the Passion Pits before them. But their single is just one of the multi-faceted angles of the band's ability to create a sing-along. There are plenty of other songs here that could extend the longevity of Torches tracks long into next year. Lead-off cuts "Call It What You Want" and "Don't Stop (Color On The Walls)" are portentous encapsulations of what middle America would refer to as "indie rock", and that shit sells like McDonald's breakfast these days.
The MGMT association is not lost on the band's handlersit's in every RIYL. Considering the original MGMT fudged up their perfectly balanced pop/pysch/throwback noise to make something entirely insane and original, there's an opening in the muso-sphere for a band like FTP. Helps that they really nail the aesthetic and write stuff that's as infectious as it is pleasant to pop on in the background.
More importantly: the boredom associated with most imitations of the MGMT sound is absent here. This is a fun f*cking record. Head bops are near unavoidable on every track. The songs are immediate and engaging, and have a certain like-able quality about them even on first listen. Hand claps, multiple voice choruses and well placed synth licks amplify the amicable nature of Torches, but at the core of the crushing is a seemingly endless amount of meticulous melody writing. Quality and quantity, now that's a deal we can get behind.