The true appeal of Indie pop band Foals has always been somewhat of a mystery to me.. After two albums that failed to really grab my by the ears, I was almost tempted to give up on even attempting to listen to their latest full length album Holy Fire… Although I’d given Foals a few chances in the past and wasn’t really sold on their particular brand of indie rock.. But in spite of that, I set out the past week of my life to really see if the band had finally managed to win me over… It’s at this point that I have to admit that I really don’t dislike the band.. In fact I’m actually in quite the opposite camp… I for one have always wanted the band to release an album that’s close to perfect… I just never found enough meat on the bones of their first two albums to entice me to come back for more.. And that’s part of what made Holy Fire yet another bittersweet Foals experience for me..
After first hearing the lead single from Holy Fire I was instantly made to take notice of what the band was trying to achieve.. Not only was Inhaler something far heavier than what I was used to hearing from the band.. It sounded fresh.. Mixing a slightly oriental guitar with strong drumming, heavy bass and guitar work that’s more than a little inspired by Rage Against The Machine I found Inhaler to be a great start to the album.. There is an intro track titled Prelude but I sometimes like to overlook intro tracks if there’s nothing particularly special going on in them.. Although Prelude does feature some rather funky guitar work I found the vocals to be almost too distorted to understand which resulted in me skipping Prelude during subsequent playthroughs..
After having started on such a distinctively strong note with Inhaler I found myself incredibly happy that Yannis Philippakis & Co. back it right up with My Number which is the second single from the album… Blasting forth with an up-tempo 80′s disco vibe, this is a testament to the bands ability to write indie pop songs that are practically ready-made for the masses… Alternatively, the albums third track Bad Habit maintains a moderate pacing as compared to the albums first 2 offerings.. Sounding a little too much like Temper Trap In felt as if things were just a little too predictable for this one.. That’s not to say that the band doesn’t sound good when they’re in Temper Trap mode.. I just don’t think it’s their strong suit..
After Bad Habit comes Everytime which seems to borrow its influences from other popular indie/dance acts The Rapture and Friendly Fires.. Featuring plenty of cowbell interspersed with a seemingly never-ending guitar riff… This is definitely one of the catchier songs contained within the album, and demonstrates that Foals are entirely capable of writing songs that are a little more accessible than perhaps they’d even want them to be… Reflecting back upon the bands previous albums I’d have to say that it’s tracks like this that show that Foals have grown into a far more focused outfit than they were a few years back… Songs seem to have a greater focus on strong builds, choruses and “stadium rock” moments… In what may seem like a slight departure from the bands first two albums, It appears as though the band is beginning to fully embrace the fact that they may be about to crack the mainstream ceiling..
Having mentioned how great some of the albums first moments are.. I think that it’d only be fair to make mention of the albums back half which is somewhat of a hit and miss affair… Whilst there are a few moments of semi greatness contained in the albums last 20 or so minutes, it does feel as though the Foals train runs out of steam towards Holy Fires’ final acts.. Perhaps with the exception of Providence which is another of the more heavy numbers on the album.. And also Milk and Black Spiders which is a chorus heavy, guitar reverb laden piece of indie pop goodness… From this point onwards though I didn’t personally get a whole lot of gratification from Holy Fire… It seems as though as far as this album is concerned it really feels like Foals are at their best when they’re at their most energetic…
Whilst Foals have been around the traps for a few years and this is their third release, one recurring thought kept coming into mind with each listen of Holy Fire… And that was “When will these guys make an album that’s consistent from start to finish?” Well… I’m hoping that the answer to that question comes in the form of their next full length release…. Whilst Holy Fire is a strong offering in its own right, I just can’t help but feel that if Foals were able to harness the energy that they put into tracks like Inhaler, My Number and Providence and channel it into songs that focus more on their strengths, they’d truly be heading in the right direction to create the ever elusive killer record that I wish they’d release… Having said that though, Holy Fire definitely has its moments.. And whilst there may only be a few of them, it certainly seems to have added a few great songs to the bands already impressive live set.. And that’s not such a bad thing.. is it?
Please don’t forget to check out Foals at any of their official pages below..