Foals – Holy Fire

Foals – Holy Fire
February 11, 2013

Everyone has their one claim to fame that is supposed to set them apart from the rest of the market.

It can be a story, like Bon Iver did when he claimed that during a low point in his life, he secluded himself in a cabin in the woods to write and record his breakthrough, For Emma, Forever Ago.  It can be a unique instrument incorporated into a genre, like Yellowcard did with their use of a violinist.   Or it can be an act, like Lady Gaga, who must have  missed the memo that draping yourself in raw meat isn’t artistic expression, however you try to spin it.

Foals have a claim to fame as well in the indie/dance-punk gerne, and theirs is an instrument:  the marimba.  We find it on roughly half the tracks on Holy Fire.  Sure, many bands could use it in the background, but it’s a dominant part of some of these songs, and it adds an extra element that certainly makes them unique and memorable.

Just like a review that I wrote a couple days ago of Frightened Rabbit’s Pedestrian Verse, Foals have come back with their 2013 release ready to dominate.  To roughly quote one of the same things I said about FR’s release, Foals are ready to put the clubs behind them and overtake the stadiums.  The sound is more expansive.  It’s louder moments are louder and the quieter moments are quieter.  They have songs that are absolute singles, no question about it.

Inhaler and My Number are the first two, and they fit the bill perfectly.  The former is on its way to being a contender for my favorite Foals song ever.  It starts out with a wonderful guitar/keyboard/and tight drum mix that will have you moving in two seconds flat.  The key marimba kicks in, as well as Yannis Philippakis’ vocals, and a second layer of guitar comes in.  The anticipation builds, and builds some more.  Every time you think it’s about to explode, it adds just a little more – not yet not yet – until Yannis declares to us, “I can’t  get enough….space!”  The music explodes into a monster fuzzed-out riff with the vocals being repeated over and over, each with a little more intensity.  Forget trying to sound like I have any amount of education writing reviews:  it’s just freaking awesome.

My Number is the truthfully best choice for a lead-off single, through.  It’s a dose of disco-punk perfection.  Give yourself 10 seconds with this song:  you’ll be hooked and already on the dance floor.  If you’d rather be grinding up against someone while Flo Rida is banging Good Feeling over this, you are I are simply on two different levels.

I am not jealous of your level.

That sounds very cocky.  I apologize.

But honestly, if you’re listening to Flo Rida over Foals, you and I don’t have much in common.

Things chill out a little bit on Late Night, but the somewhat subdued openings (that’s not a negative) give way to some awesome guitar work during the instrumental latter half of the song that I simply can’t help but think of Iron Butterfly’s guitars on In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.  They touched on a bit of greatness, but let it last way too short of a time.

The second half of the record tends to lack the power that is exhibited on the first half, and with my first listen, I was somewhat let down.  However, after numerous listens, I found the likes of Out Of The Woods and Stepson to be very rewarding.  Any true lacking on this record comes in the form of its lyrics.  You can pick out bits here and there, but overall, there isn’t anything that stands out.  They sound great in the songs themselves, but to read them on paper, they don’t hold their weight.

It’s a hard thing to accept, because the music is solid.  But overall, it’s still a very enjoyable experience.

Music:  9/10
Lyrics:  5/10
Overall:  7/10

If you had to listen to two tracks:  My Number / Late Night


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