Foals - Holy Fire
Foals - Holy Fire
Holy Fire is essentially a reinvention of a reinvention – a band who've found a perfect marriage between their post-punk posturing and more meditative moments – and perhaps most crucially, found a way to cross over to a much wider audience.
What we thought:
Foals could so easily have been undone by that 'latest UK indie darlings' tag that gets thrown out like day-old fish and chips by the British music press, a tag that never quite stuck to blah 'The' bands: Wombats, Kooks, Fratellis, et al.
Known for the sharp, angular guitars, jittery beats and punkish sound of their 2008 debut Antidotes, the band then went onto release the markedly more mature Total Life Forever in 2010 – a beautifully astute collection of songs that soared and bled and built up to staggering crescendos. I can't recommend it highly enough. It was the mark of a band who had grown into themselves, and readily recalled the career trajectory of their Oxford hometown heroes Radiohead.
Foals' third LP Holy Fire could, then, be their OK Computer. It's an album that's rediscovered the energy and purpose of their debut (so evident on the hit singles "Inhaler" and "My Number", which have miraculously found themselves on heavy rotation on increasingly rock-averse 5FM) but threaded through with the heart and grace which now is more readily associated with a band who were not that long ago given the unpleasant label of "math pop-rockers".
Here Foals turn things up to 11 somewhat, wrenching everything out of their groovy basslines and finding renewed purpose in their rock guitar/electronic keyboard interplay and explore some intriguing rhythmic flourishes on songs like "Out Of The Woods" and "Milk & Black Spiders". This is truly stop-in-your-tracks astonishing stuff.
"Inhaler" – I feel like I should apologise for going for the obvious, but it is such a thrilling departure for the band and still as vital now as when I played it to death upon its release as a single back in early November 2012. It's also given some new avenues for frontman Yannis Philippakis to take his keening rasp of a voice. There are more delicately structured moments on Holy Fire such as "Late Night" and "Stepson" – stunning tracks both.
There is no such thing to be found on this very trim 11-track collection, but opening the album with a moody track like "Prelude" could put the ADHD afflicted among us from venturing further.
Holy Fire is essentially a reinvention of a reinvention – a band who've found a perfect marriage between their post-punk posturing and more meditative moments – and perhaps most crucially, found a way to cross over to a much wider audience. I mean, have you actually heard how majestic "Inhaler" really is? Now imagine watching them blow that fist-pumping madness up live in South Africa. I'd bet on it happening.
Listen to some of their tracks here:
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