For those that heard Foals‘ 2008 album, Antidotes, don’t be alarmed by the maturity of their deeper, atmospheric sound. They’ve taken a jump from the sporadic, hyper-active angst of a teenager to the emotive reflections of an adult. From the first song you can hear the band’s five members spewing out horror, confusion and collective soul searching with the utmost sincerity. Singer Yannis Philippakis seems comfortable in his new vocal skin, singing it all out instead of yelling it into open space and pushing out the emotion with so much passion you want to simultaneously hug him and stand in the corner by yourself.
Total Life Forever starts off dipping your feet into Foals’ new sound and as soon as you begin to appreciate their musical journey “Spanish Sahara” comes on and suddenly you feel like you’ve been drowning and just took your first breathe of long awaited air. From there the album continues to grow channeling the instrumental enormity of bands like Mew and M83 with Philippakis profound and underlying vocals complimenting every twist and turn of the music. “Alabaster” takes you into the very core of their instrumental genius; the intense pre-cursor of their Bloc Party-esque anticipation makes you want to jump out of your skin, but the special sound that comes out from underneath the ruckus is the perfect instrumental complement, each addition only building the album up into a stronger force than you could have imagined.
This album climaxes with the perfectly titled “What Remains.” The intensity of the passionate drums are lightened by the keys just enough for you to want to belt out Philippakis lyrics with as much emotion you can muster, short of giving yourself a coronary. Let’s just say that by the end of it all you can’t help but feel like you’ve just had a life-altering experience, and it seems like it’s only the beginning. – Justine Thompson-Fisher