Alex Lebl, Contributing Writer
It is going to be hard for me to fully contain my excitement to review this album, so please forgive me if I get carried away. I have been waiting for this album for almost three years, since the band stopped touring for its sophomore release, Total Life Forever.
Foals has taken the world by storm since its arrival on the scene in 2008 with the release of Antidotes, a breath of fresh air in terms of both dance rock and more technical rock. The band has always found a way to write songs that incorporate tight arrangements with grooves that will get feet shufflin’. It strayed away from its straight dance directives on Total Life Forever, progressing into a more experimental mode, yet still preserving an upbeat sound. Holy Fire is a continuation of this progression, in which the band explores a rawer sound, yet still successfully pulls off the grooves and beats that keep fans constantly moving.
The first half of the album is filled with songs that span all sorts of sound, starting with the funk-punk track “Inhaler,” which has an almost tropical groove during the verses and then explodes into a gritty chorus, to the disco-like dance track “My Number,” which has one of the catchiest hooks you will find in any album this year.
Foals continues to show its excellence in creating active, engaging songs without strictly sticking to the typical bass–hi-hat–snare–hi-hat beat that characterizes so many bands of this time period. Songs like “Out of the Woods” and “Providence” have some super-crunchy grooves, yet the pace is more driven by the call-and-answer guitar lines than the drums.
Foals is not just about dancing, however. Tracks like “Late Night” and “Stepson” slow the album down and give the listener a chance to rest, while still keeping him engaged with the catchy interplay between guitars and keyboards. The closing song, “Moon,” lulls the listener to sleep with a post-rock sound (there you go, Peter!) that utilizes lead singer’s Yannis Philippakis’s great voice as more of an instrument than a typical vocal lead.
A more appropriate title for this album would have been Holy $#&@!* because this album is just that fantastic. Be sure to catch Foals at the House of Blues on April 26. I’m going, so if you need a ride, just find me. 9.4/10