Foals – Holy Fire album review

Foal’s third studio album, Holy Fire, dropped February 11, 2013.

Techno-beat with northern U.K. club influences, the opening track and single-release My Number is a no-nonsense entrée with a side of rhythmic guitar and open bass percussion. Appealing to fans of US bands such as Foster The People, Foals’ melodies are energizing and distinct, the harmonies are genuine and most selections are ready-made for radio play without sounding like they all have the same hook.

Love and uncomplicated relationships are the centerpiece themes and (thankfully) don’t spend a lot of lyric space trying to analyze them. Bad Habit is perhaps the least sophisticated of them:

“Cause I’m a bad habit.
One you cannot shake.
And I hope that I change.
Don’t follow me.
Don’t follow me.”

I can relate to simple imagery and sometimes that is just what an album needs; just a simple song.

Milk & Black Spiders – besides having a delicious title – could be the trademark sound of this British quintet; several layers of vocal harmony, double-time guitar riffs and building volume to Temper Trap-like bridge.  It’s an intricate arrangement, a style that will hopefully show up more frequently.  Providence is a wonderful diversion; more driving double-bass, more reverb and a thin metallic guitar imbue a 90’s arena-rock feel.

The closer, Inhaler, is all sharp and technically executed. Produced by Flood and Alan Moulder (a la Smashing Pumpkins), it starts out bold and only grows louder and more determined. It’s tailor-made for full volume listening.

It does seem that a lot of alternative bands – whatever their sub-genre or influence – put out one or two really great songs and then fall back on filler or extra material they didn’t really know what to do with for their second and third albums, almost as if they are biding their time finding a name act to tour with. Not so with Foals. Their first production was met with critical and popular approval and the followup to that, Total Life Forever, introduced completely new material and a disciplined sound. On Holy Fire, the band opens their lyrical arms to everyone within listening distance: it’s not only for die-hard fans. They want the whole musical world to know them and to love them. Easy to do with a release like this.

By H0ney

H0ney is an avid music lover based in the Puget Sound. She enjoys all genres, but especially likes the indie/alt/industrial styles.

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