Lately there seems to be a current that's sweeping indie artists along the tides of pop sounds. In some cases, it's certainly a rip tide or undertow swallowing their authenticity, but in Foals' case, they're riding the wave with great balance. The British band, whose eccentric sound thundered back in 2008 with Antidotes, have become a force reaching across the Atlantic. With their third album, Holy Fire, they're not only experimenting with indie rock but also dance tempos. And it seems like they've found their niche.
While tapping into some painted pop beats, Holy Fire doesn't stray too far from their intricate guitar playing and complex percussion techniques. What's so captivating about Foals is their jittery, fast-paced sound dancing along the lines of punk: Holy Fire sounds like a ticking time bomb that explodes at precise moments.
The album opens with "Prelude," with a drowning guitar flow alongside a growing maraca's beat. The contradiction is not only clever, but catchy. Without any audible lyrics, the opening keeps the mystery behind the band veiled.
Before the album is set to release on the 11th, Foals unearthed two singles, "My Number" and "Inhaler" just a few months back. Both efforts tear through anything they've accomplished to date. With a fine balance between tangy guitar precision and epic dance party material, Foals fueled anticipation and allowed listeners to feast their ears on authentic pop tunes. "My Number" sounds distinctly similar to the title track off 2010's Total Life Forever. Not to say that is a bad thing, however. Their growth is bold and proud here, proving that heavy pop synths and dramatic electronic instrumentals are not necessary to bring forth their desired energy.
Although this certainly places their strongest points back to back, the entire album follows through with intricate percussion and an upbeat pace. Another shining force on the record is "Late Night." A song simply could not encompass the mood of the title more appropriately. The jaded introduction and swiping sounds shed light on the experimentation behind the record. There's a tinge of Radiohead with some added funk, creating a whole new chapter on Holy Fire.
An additional point of victory lies within the instrumentals on "Out of the Woods." The percussive relationship between Yannis Philippakis and Jack Bevan makes you itch for some more bongo beats to make their way into the album. The album's "Moon" ending reminds you, with the soothing track, that Foals' skill and style continue to progress. Just like Tegan and Sara's Heartthrob, Foals have mastered the newfound art of indie pop, gliding through a smooth transition into the pinnacle of their growth that is Holy Fire.
Check out our exclusive interview with Yannis and Edwin of Foals, here: