Following on from the success of debut Antidotes in 2008 and 2010’s Total Life Forever, Foals return with their eagerly anticipated third studio album entitled Holy Fire. Initially known for their glitchy poly-rhythmic guitar led countermelodies accentuated by complex drum patterns, the band have progressed and developed their idiosyncratic sound into a more expansive and emotive form, refining their raw and humble indie beginnings into musical maturity. Now signed to Transgressive Records Foals’ most recent creative output is already being met with critical acclaim and combined with the influential support of national radio DJ’s such as Zane Lowe projecting their music to a wider audience the band is soon to be catapulted into the industry mainstream. For Foals, 2013 is going to be an exciting year indeed.
Foals – Holy Fire
Opening track ‘Prelude’ is a fantastically rich and dark instrumental, beginning with a foreboding low drone set against an eerie repetitive guitar melody that gradually builds both in dynamics and texture into a powerful and turbulent cacophony of sound. As the kick drum enters Yannis’s barely audible slurring vocals can be heard buried deep in the resonating texture complimented by lazy string bends that add to the increasingly haunting atmosphere. Single ‘Inhaler’ is definitely the heaviest Foals track to date with a cascading drop into the chorus closer to Rage Against The Machine in style than, say, an early Two Door Cinema Club song but it works. Shouting vocals, dense chords, pounding drums and a classic Foals high necked guitar lick soaked in delay combine in creative cohesion that will have any live audience hurling one another into a testosterone-filled circle pit.
Upbeat, funky-disco esc second single ‘My Number’ is perhaps the strongest song in terms of memorability with catchy hooks, a radio-friendly sing-along chorus and a warm synth backdrop that will esnure Foals a summer festival hit. ‘Bad Habit’, ‘Out of the Woods’ and ‘Everytime’ balance rhythmic drive with delicate interludes with some really cool descending tremolo pentatonic licks and syncopated melodic phrasing that lift them out of the ordinary but that doesn’t mask the fact that they become a little repetitive.
However, ‘Late Night’ is arguably the best song on the album. Beautifully composed, it combines tranquil tones and an underlining simple harmony that has a profound emotional effect upon the song that compliments the vocals well. An organic, seemingly spontaneous guitar solo draws the song to its logical conclusion. A strong build up with an added string section makes ‘Milk And Black Spiders’ an interesting listen whilst the sonically chaotic freak-out of ‘Providence’ juxtaposed against the ambience of ‘Stepson’ adds variation and depth to the collection. Final song ‘Moon’ lethargically draws the album to a calming close with a relaxed, minimalist sound drenched in reverb and delay, soft delicate vocals, meandering melodies and a gentle sustain that slowly fades into silence, chanelling the same spirit that gave Foals an NME track of the year accolade for ‘Spanish Sahara’. What a perfect way to end this fine album.
Released on 11th February 2013 by Transgressive Records