Album Review: Foals - Holy Fire Featured

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This album’s opening track draws you all the goddamn way in within 30 seconds. Forget pissing about with gentle intros. Guitar riffs and a coordination of notes that sound as though they should overlap a really f***ing life-changing scene of film bring you right to where you need to be instantly. Nerve-endings are set to quivering with excitement in this eerie, atmospheric little prelude. Who am I kidding, there’s nothing little about it; this opener is BIG and this album is even BIGGER.

Holy Fire is Foals’ third album and brings with it very little, if any, disappointment. Whilst I want a few of these tracks to be married to some of Tarantino’s finest scenery, I want others to haunt my favourite bars whilst I nurse a rum and ginger. Any album that makes me think of Tarantino and rum has got my attention.

Yannis Philippakis’ high-pitched vocals alongside funky, plucky notes, put an irrevocably FOALS shaped stamp across this album’s forehead, yet there is something totally new about it. In ‘Inhaler’ (track two) there is a divinely heavy spin on the usual Foals sound. As Philippakis sings, “Throw your fortune away… Cos I can’t get enough space,” a rippling guitar riff cracks through the song’s so far fairly timid progression. The single is fairly well known now and, on my end at least, invokes a steady head-banging-whilst-driving whenever it comes on the radio. Sh*t, this one gets me shivering.

‘My Number’ (track three) is slightly more light hearted and certainly more poppy. Diving into the chorus almost instantly, the song is an immediate hit. Rapid and rounded off well, this track is probably the most danced to on the album.

With ‘Late Night’ (track six), Foals change the pace. It’s no Spanish Sahara; I mean my heart isn’t, like, f***ing breaking with this one or anything, but it’s definitely evocative and gives me a few little welcome goose bumps. As Philippakis sings, “I’m the last cowboy in this town, empty veins and my plastic broken crown”, I am reminded again of just how haunting Foals can be when they want to be. The vocals in this track bridge on raspy in tone, which comes as a pleasant change to other sometimes shouty sections of the album. I’m digging the way this track delivers the darker side of Foals’ musical spectrum.

The album continues through very Foalsy sounding stories and rhythms, ending with the tranquil, ‘Moon’. Here, all that hyper plucking and strumming melts into a twinkly little number in which Philippakis’ endearingly shakey vocals bring you down gently from and awesome high. All in all, a pretty fantastic f***ing Foals day out.

India Johnson

I have a degree in English from Leeds Uni and love to write. I like music, pretty words, films (especially French films) and books (especially American lit).


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