June 6, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 51°F


Review: Indie rock band channels eclectic sound

Following the release of their Mercury Prize-nominated album, “Total Life Forever,” in 2010, English indie rock band Foals has released their latest creation, “Holy Fire.” With this new LP, Foals reemerges at the top of their game with a collection of feisty and powerful songs.

As has been true in the past, Foals continues to dabble in the math rock genre. Math rock is usually recognized as an offshoot of progressive rock, since it combines eclectic styles and a variety of rhythms that tend to deviate from the standard four-on-the-floor beat.

Foals embraces this genre with “Holy Fire,” as each song takes on distinctive features. Most tracks sample from subgenres such as tropical rock, hard rock and shoegaze.

One cut that exemplifies such diversity is “Inhaler.” Speedy guitar licks enhanced with a guitar delay pedal and accenting woodblock strikes lock into an infectious tropical groove. The tropics subside as the song builds and climaxes in a maelstrom of unrelenting power chords.

“My Number,” one of the album’s singles, seems to have been crafted specifically for indie-minded dance clubs. Foals once again displays their tropical mindset with the tight guitar parts. Listeners are sure to find the desire to bust a move once they hear this catchy jam.

Culminating track “Moon” recalls one of the band’s breakout singles, “Spanish Sahara.” The track simmers with sweet electronic organ chords and isolated guitar plucking. The cut crescendos underneath lead singer Yannis Philippakis’ solemn storyline of birds falling out of the sky and teeth falling out of a head. The song eventually fades out in a dying blaze of distorted instrumentals.

Foals has delivered an album with a little something for everyone and then some. Listeners should look forward to exploring the LP’s quirky intricacies and ever-evolving motifs. With “Holy Fire,” Foals has set the bar high for further 2013 releases. Bands, consider yourselves on notice.

4 stars