Foals
Antidotes


4.5
superb

Review

by BillboardBeauty USER (1 Reviews)
August 6th, 2008 | 65 replies | 17,870 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I would say this album is perfect if I didn't expect them to better it with their next effort.

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

I have recently discovered that listening to Antidotes, the debut album from UK based Foals, can be rather dangerous with regard to public conceptions of your mental well-being.
Have you ever experienced that euphoric feeling, where your heart swells inside your chest, and suddenly your body just isn’t big enough anymore and you feel every moment that you are about to explode and leave your happy remains bubbling contentedly on the path and yet you really, honestly don’t mind? If you haven’t, go get Antidotes and listen to it through headphones.
I was walking the streets of Wellington just the other day and I made this discovery. I was trying desperately to restrain myself from breaking out into a cross between dancing and skipping along the sidewalk, and from screeching along with Yannis Philippakis’ (lead vocals and guitar) gleeful exclamations. In this second goal, I am afraid I may have failed, based largely on the volume of sheer space between myself and my fellow pedestrians. Normal folk don’t like walking close to crazy people, they think it might catch on.

But you know what? It was worth it. The consistency with which this band manages to build and build a song with suspenseful, gyrating beats and stuttering guitar work to way beyond bursting point and then to explode into a crescendo even more magnificent than you were hoping for is rather staggering. In many other reviews I have seen them referred to as a Math Rock band, but in this sense I would have to disagree. The music is much more accessible than the classically irregular and offbeat work of Don Caballero and their contemporaries. It is music that practically forces your body to move, so that you can’t help dancing like some sort of questionably mobilised piece of cutlery (I’m a terrible dancer, what can I say?). As the band has insisted in many interviews, it is then, essentially pop music. And yet the media seems to refuse to believe them – after all, how can music this unique, this original, belong in the same genre as the recycled rubbish that spews out of the industry in such large quantities?

And here is the real success of Foals. They have achieved something that seems more and more like an impossible achievement these days, and created something new. Music that it is as much at home on dance floors and ‘skins parties’ as it is in the bedrooms of excruciatingly ‘alt’ indie kids the world over. And this goes down largely to the level of thought that has gone into these tracks. Each aspect of every song has been crafted to perfection, with alarmingly simple guitar riffs cutting across Walter Gervers warbling bass lines and spiced up with the genius synth work of Edwin Congreave. Special mention though, goes to Jack Bevan whose drum work lights up the album constantly, as he proves that drummers can simultaneously keep the beat while also contributing to the pure style of a song. The ‘angular’ interplay between the guitars of Yannis and Jimmy Smith, that seems to convince many people that ‘it must be math rock’, simply tops off the mixture superbly.
Lyrically, I would optimistically label the album as cryptic. If anyone has seen Yannis give an interview they will have a taste of the sharp intelligence (yes two of them did go to Oxford, how could we forget?) and humour of the band, and this is present throughout all the tracks of the album. Opener, The French Open seems to be both a song about tennis and a subtle pun on its French lyrics and status as the album’s first track, while Two Steps Twice seems at times to be guiding its audience through a series of dance moves. The haunting Big Big Love (Fig.2) is the most obscure lyrically, but also a major highlight. However, as we would expect from a band that has controversially (albeit it jokingly) declared their support for Obama and mocked London’s new Mayor, there are moments where the lyrics are more obviously meaningful. Red Socks Pugie sees Yannis give the almost pained cry of “these wasps nests, these terminals in your head” as well as declaring that “we’ll set it on fire for them”, while the relentless Electric Bloom depicts “just another hospital” and proclaims that “this is not a warning call, your final shot”, while most tellingly on Olympic Airways we have the lament: “If only we could move away, from here ... let’s disappear ‘til tomorrow”. These glimpses of angst coming through seem to suggest Yannis’ discontent with the drab repetitiveness of the modern world, and the desire to escape to something new, seeing the world as “an aviary for today”.

Foals though are a band unafraid to spread their wings, and this glimpse of meaning in the lyrics suggests to me the reason for the album’s title. Rather than being merely a collection of songs, what Foals have given us here is their prescription and Antidotes for the stagnation of society and also the music industry. Songs like Red Socks Pugie and Olympic Airways in a way seem to diagnose the problems, while the more upbeat and optimistic songs like formidably catchy Cassius and Two Steps Twice give us the sort of release from this prescribed pain and suffering that previously only morphine or heroine could give.
So whether you too share Foals’ angst and frustration at the relentless dribble of repetitive music that acts as a fitting soundtrack to postmodern life in the 21st century or if you simply want some beautifully crafted beats to dance to, I can give you no better advice than to go out and buy this album. The only warning I will give you is to reaffirm that listening to it in public will make people think you are a little bit weird in the head, but I assure you, it is very much worth it, as Yannis says in the triumphant crashing explosion of Red Socks Pugie: “oh what the hell, we set it on fire ... our heart swells up, which makes us explode.”
Go light the fire, and watch it explode.


user ratings (474)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
AtavanHalen
August 7th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Interesting review, keen to hear this.

IAmInsect
August 7th 2008



3800 Comments


yeah this is a pretty good review, especially for a first. this sounds cool.

sgrevs
August 7th 2008



698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty good review, but you didn't even mention Balloons, which is probably the second best song on here, after Cassius.

BillboardBeauty
August 13th 2008



5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

True Sgrevs, I can't believe I didn't mention it come to think of it, but I suppose I didn't intend it as a track by track analysis, I just included references to the tracks that emphasised the points I was making. Thanks for the feedback though, much appreciated, and Balloons is a brilliant track I agree.

istaros
August 13th 2008



310 Comments


really good review. album's awesome too

Msuen
September 30th 2008



16 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very enjoyable album, Cassius is a great sturdy upbeat song to listen to.

robin
Emeritus
October 20th 2008



4241 Comments


love the first half of this album, though it's pretty underwhelming compared to their live shows.

i don't quite get the math rock comparisons though.

silverleaves
October 20th 2008



438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ya i heard they're unbelievable live, i wish they played a show near me

xNintendoCorex
October 21st 2008



1272 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

such a guilty pleasure, so many people hate on them......its just fun music! how can you not like it

Fugue
December 22nd 2008



7352 Comments


It's difficult to say how much I love this band, live they are absolutely breathtaking and this album is near perfection for me. All that bothers me is that your review is so good that it is pointless me even trying to compete with it, definitely worthy of a pos from me.

Titan50
December 23rd 2008



4588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haven't heard it in full but seems to be pretty damn solid.
Great review, btw

Bleak123
December 23rd 2008



1902 Comments


what i have heard from this has been pretty boring and made me snooze zzzzz like that

tombits
January 14th 2009



3469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is super fun so far.

Kiran
Emeritus
February 18th 2009



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm loving this. So catchy. So glad when blind buys turn out to be awesome.

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

STOP SHOUTING!
February 18th 2009



631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is pretty good, it has a depth to it. Like Bloc Party on a good day.

Titan50
April 10th 2009



4588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So, basically like Bloc Party, then

gaslightanthem
April 10th 2009



5209 Comments


a video for one of these songs was on tv the other day and it was okay may check this

Fugue
April 10th 2009



7352 Comments


Yeah this is pretty awesome. Saying that I feel my 4.5 rating is too high.

Edit: Fix'd

This Message Edited On 04.10.09

gaslightanthem
April 18th 2009



5209 Comments


alright this is a pretty cool album

AtavanHalen
April 18th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Whatever happened to this reviewer?



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