The third studio album by indie rock band, Foals, was finally released in February this year after the band teased fans from as early as October last year. In comparison to the bands previous two albums, Antidotes in 2008 and Total Life Forever in 2010, Holy Fire is themed darker and somewhat heavier. The songs are also a little longer as opposed to a lot of newer releases by other artists which may explain why this album feels more fuller.
A four minute prelude opens the album with soft synth and a gentle guitar builds it up. A bluesy rock guitar riff echoes over the top and by the end of the track, you feel that the album has begun. Inhalor takes stride as the first single and first ‘proper’ song and was released towards the end of 2012. The concentration on guitar layers is unmistakable as they thicken throughout the song. A distorted sound and pleasant drums take the song through to My Number which is also the second single.
The song was debuted on ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ before it had its radio play with Zane Lowe on BBC Radio One. It also has the pride of holding the Foals’ best charting performance (single) reaching #23 in the UK charts. The song stands out with a lower-end melody that contrasts to Yannis Philippakis’ distinct upper end vocals. Bad Habit continues the playlist with a sense of calm and tranquility, with a gentle rattling of the drums and simple vocal melodies. Its chorus lightens the song effortlessly creating an uplifting mood.
While its not continued into Everytime, this song puts a darker approach to the sound explored so far. While its verses give hope of a similarly constructive song as Bad Habit was, it is let down by a boring chorus that feels weak and just plain empty. There are some nice melodies in the song, but nothing really stands out and soon enough, the third single from the album appears.
Late Night was the poorest single in terms of chart performance, not even reaching the top 100 in the UK Singles Chart, but it doesn’t stop this from being a nice song. After slowly building, the song appears to evolve around a repeating lyric before a wasted outro leads into the second half of the album which after reading the critics’ response, wasn’t something I was looking forward to.
Out of the Woods is the first song to continue the playlist and already I knew what was meant by ‘its a one-sided album’ and ‘things plummeted badly in the second half’. I was instantly switched off from the album and a repetitive drone seemed to take effect in my mind. This state of nauseating annoyance continued in Milk and Black Spiders and Providence – although the latter does have glimmers of hope in between what might as well have been a different album entirely.
The album doesn’t sound like the same piece of music I was listening to at the beginning of the review and soon enough it was clear that things weren’t going back to the beautiful sounds in the first half. With hellish sounds towards the ending of Providence, I really had no idea where the album would head and sort of hoped it would only get darker as this mood was interesting to listen to.
Unfortunately, instead of recovering itself in a double-negative standard, the album dug a deeper hole in Stepson that while its lyrics were nice, its music was shambles. Finally the album begins to close off with Moon. In a slow starting and somewhat chilling intro, it appeared that the album may pick up after all however, for a one-leveled song with no direction, its nice, if that’s what you’re into.
If its an album of interesting sounds and ever-changing moods you’re after, then I’d recommend the first half as it is full of excellent music but it’s safe to say that the rest isn’t up to scratch and I am truly disappointed from it.
|Release Name:||Holy Fire|
|Date:||2013, February 11th|