It’s been a long, four year wait, but Foals have finally woken from their slumber. As one of the last few surviving 00’s indie bands, this record could’ve catapulted Foals back to the forefront of British music – or seen them sink into irrelevancy. Following the enormous What Went Down is no small task, and with the departure of bassist Walter Gervers, it was debated whether Foals had already peaked – but the release of this record has put those doubts firmly back to bed.
This release is the first of a two part record, entitled Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost. A fitting title for a record with themes of apocalypse, dystopia, and time, or more specifically lack of, running throughout.
Exits was the first single to be released from the record, premiered as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record on Radio 1. The track has an other worldly feel and especially amplifies the apocalyptic theme in the lyrics; “I said I’m so sorry, that the world has fallen down”.
The track sets the precedent for the whole record in it’s sound. Listening to it gives me a similar feeling to those times where reality seems a bit altered, like airports early in the morning, empty playgrounds, or your bedroom at 5AM.
The second single, aptly titled On the Luna, holds the most explicit references to the troubles of the current world “Trump clogging up my computer”. As music as I enjoyed On the Luna as a single alone, I was unsure of how it fit together with Exits, but hearing it within the album gives it context and makes it even better.
White Onions takes us back to the math-rock, house party days of Foals with the high pitch tones of the intro, fitting for a place on Antidotes. However we’re soon jarred by heavy riffs and combined with repetitive vocals, it’s a recipe for a classic Foals song.
Cafe D’Athens is one of the most interesting Foals tracks I’ve heard, it’s got a really different sound – sort of like Radiohead’s In Rainbows went on holiday to Greece. Similarly, Sunday and In Degrees have a dance-like influence, something new from the band, which adds a whole new dimension to their sound, and it works wonderfully.
Frontman Yannis Philippakis spent a few months in Greece following the end of the What Went Down era. More specifically, the spartan monasteries; centre of the Orthodox Church where women have been banned for the past 1,000 years – not sure what sort of epiphany was had there, but it certainly helped make a banging record.
Foals mostly self-produced this album, with a little help from Brett Shaw who has previously produced for Florence & the Machine and Robyn. It’s almost as if they’ve brought together all the different era’s of their sound, threw in some end-of-the-world groove and sprinkled the unmistakable Foals energy on top.
In a hand-written note posted on the band’s social media, Foals explained that they wanted to create a body of work that will endure, and sound good on “both the train and the dance floor”. and I think that’s exactly what they’ve done. I’ve listened to this album alone at 1AM, full blast in my car, and I can guarantee it will sound just as huge when I’m in the crowd at YNOT Festival later this year. Foals have done it again, they’re back, and they’re here to stay.