Foals - Holy Fire
- By Matthew Laidlow -
- Feb 01, 2013
Despite 'adult' horses being in the news rather a lot in the last few weeks, with their accidental pollution of downmarket supermarket burgers, the animals aren’t completely taking over. Their baby offspring (Foals) are creating quite a bit of noise too, this time in the shape of a new album. ‘Holy Fire’ being the third record from the Oxford band of the same name.
The extra influx of horse related publicity has probably helped tenfold. Kind of how Scottish band Ballboy felt after their band name was technically trending on Twitter following the strange incident at the recent Swansea v Chelsea football match after Eden Hazard confused the urge to win with kicking an annoying child.
The supposed influence of sounds that make up what you hear on a Foals record would definitely confuse the majority of people. From “Math Rock”, “Krautrock” and “Minimal Techno”, only the dastardly branded “Nu Rave” is the more recognisable; despite it’s not so unfortunate demise. With magazines and late night radio condensing bands into all sorts of genres, just being able to enjoy the music is good for most people.
Foals mightn’t be a huge household name, but their two previous albums have managed to enter the UK top ten album charts. And with HMV wobbling more unsteadily than a drunk on a night out, bands like Foals will be reliant on this chain for a lot of their sales. After all, not every music consumer wants faceless MP3 files, completed with a tiny square of artwork. Owning something physical itself is one thing, but how does the music fare?
‘Inhaler’ was Foals' essential comeback single, letting us all know that they were still around. Given that the ‘sticks and stones’ lyric is pretty much owned by Rihanna now, this track was a lovely reminder of the building funk that Foals can pull out, topped off with a crashing lead guitar and a fierce vocal ever so effortlessly shifting between the quiet and the chaotic. On the experimental side of things, ‘Stepson’ is a toned down affair with faint and distorted drums. The faintest stab of piano pings stop this from being one of these songs that could have been marked ‘best left on the cutting room floor’.
With a more even balance of ambient and indie sounding tracks, it easily noticed that Foals are pushing for something different on Holy Fire. But after conquering that difficult second album period, this does give them the right to spread their wings as it were and try something new. Bands are often accused of repeating the same sound which consequently leads to claims of not pushing themselves. For those worried of a complete shift in pace, ‘Everytime’ takes us back to Foals second album ‘Total Life Forever’ and becomes almost like a middle point of the album to remind us that Foals haven’t forgotten who they are.
Holy Fire will be more of a challenge for fans who are expecting the same sort of thing from Foals. Sticking to it is the key thing, but it isn’t an album to judge on 30 seconds samples or even a track listen. Will it be nominated for a Mercury Prize like they have done in the past? It’s a possibility, it’s a good steady album that ticks all the boxes.
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