FOALS

18 December 2010

Album coverThe first time I heard of ‘The Foals’ was when they were nominated for this year’s Mercury Prize.  I got their album, ‘Total Life Together‘, and it is superb. There is of course the famous Twitter fight between The Foals and The Lost Prophets, and that is never a good thing.

The reviews of ‘Total Life Together‘ on Amazon are mixed. Disappointment from fans of their début album, ‘Antidotes‘ from a couple of years ago is always to be expected (it’s not angry enough, not raw enough etc.) — but I have not heard the first album, so I can only go on what I have heard, and on its own, ‘Total Life Together‘ is a great record.  The reviews actually make me less inclined to listen to their immature first album.

Don’t forget, it was the second album, not the first, that got the Mercury nomination.

Total Life Together‘ doesn’t sound like a “second album”, in the sense that “second albums” tend to be full of tunes that weren’t good enough for the début, or that tracks seem unpolished as a result of touring and promoting the début.

Amazon suggests that “people who bought this, also bought…” and listed ‘The Suburbs‘ – ‘Arcade Fire’, ‘Flaws‘ – ‘Bombay Bicycle Club’, ‘High Violet‘ – ‘The National’, ‘Tourist History‘- ‘Two Door Cinema Club’, ‘xx‘ – ‘The xx’, and ‘The Drums‘  ‘The Drums’ — and while that might give some idea of what the Foals sound like, it misses out some of the weirder references I can hear in their work.

The first thing is the album cover — this reminded me of Nirvana for some reason — but they do not sound like Nirvana, ‘Blue Blood’ has a Pixies style bass approach, and there are some King Crimson-y like guitar arpeggios, touches of U2, and even odd quirky guitar chops that sound they they were stolen from Nik Kershaw or Hipsway.  The vocals do strange things with vowels, so that I was reminded of Biffy Clyro! I reckon there could be hip indie music for the older gentleman (like myself). Ahem.

[Embedded video of Blue Blood from You Tube]

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw6oWkCojpw]

Miami swings! There are interesting soundscapes, sequencer style joggy world-music/ African arpeggios along with a distorted fat bass grunt. Soft punk tones merge with reverb’d team singing and a moogy synth top!

There are lots of dynamics internally and between songs.  To me this sounds very like stuff I really liked when I was in my twenties — especially Hipsway and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions!  Even Hue and Cry!

usual links:

[Embedded video of Miami from You Tube]

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ90LRaEIt0&feature=channel]

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