Foals
Hummer


3.5
great

Review

by Fugue USER (58 Reviews)
January 9th, 2009 | 11 replies | 6,753 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Debut EP by Oxford quintet hints at the brilliance to follow from their debut album.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

This review is written from the viewpoint that Antidotes, which is used as comparison throughout, scored a 4.5.

UK act Foals surprised almost everybody in the musical community upon release of their stunning debut album Antidotes. Not only did the album contain brilliantly catchy songs with a high degree of musicianship throughout, it also boasted a high amount of intelligence through the witty, cryptic and often allegorical lyrics; almost unheard of for most of the bit-part, fashionable bands today. Looking closer at Foals though, quite why it was so surprising is a surprise in itself. Lead singer Yannis Philippakis resembles fellow Greek front man Alex Kapranos in more ways than he would like. Whilst jokingly stating “I have nothing to do with Alex Kapranos. First of all he’s blond” in a recent interview, the truth is that he and his band have more in common with Scottish heavy-hitters Franz Ferdinand than any other act. The abundance of confidence and charisma that oozes from their live performances, the smart image and the intelligent song writing all contribute, and the distinct style shown on Antidotes is as unique as the style on Franz Ferdinand was in 2004. If Foals can be even half as commercially successful as the Scots, then job well done.

Heading the new wave of popular British indie, along with all the media coverage and inevitable hype is no easy task, but Foals are seemingly well capable. However, somehow miraculously lost in the maelstrom of interest around the band since Antidotes was released in March 2008, is the original EP that the band put four months beforehand. Like Antidotes, Hummer EP is intelligently thought out and musically rather special; all in all giving off the aura of an entirely natural prequel to Antidotes itself, which is exactly what it happens to be. Starting with “Hummer” itself, what the EP lacks in length over its LP counterpart, it makes up for in intensity. The driving guitars, soaring vocals, noticeable bass and tidy drums help set the mood, all interacting to create the distinctive sound the group are known for. The bopping synth adds another layer to an already catchy track, and how this single didn’t make the album proper is anyone’s guess.

Amazingly, “Hummer” isn’t even the most immediately catchy song out of the three that didn’t make Antidotes. “Astronauts and all” is a wonderfully fun and enchanting song, probably the catchiest song that Foals have done to date, encompassing all of the carefree creativity that one has come to expect. The polarising “Mathletics” is quirky and quite different to regular Foals material. With lyrics that would raise a smile from any mathematician, and a drearier atmosphere, this is one of the most unique songs the band has produced yet and has the potential to delight and disappoint in equal measure. Not much can be said for the two tracks that are to be found on Antidotes itself. Both will have been heard by owners of the album, and are both as great on this. Being one of the better tracks off Antidotes and an excellent live track, “Balloons (Live)” offers an insightful look at what can be expected from the band at a gig whereas “Big big love (Fig.1)” is as it is on the album.

There are in fact, only two real downsides to this EP. Firstly, the production of the EP is inferior to that of Antidotes. As this was put out before Antidotes, by a band that had a much smaller following, this is understandable and even to be expected. However what is not to be expected is for such a wonderful EP to close on such a poor track. “Hummer (Surkin Remix)” is a disappointing version of the original, failing to excite any interest at all. The remix really adds nothing to the song other than needlessly lengthening it. The beats are annoying, and the (awfully) synthed vocals suck all joy out of the track, to leave the listener with a disappointing anticlimax to an otherwise brilliant EP.

Don’t let this put you off as this EP is worth buying, even if just for the first three tracks, and is a brilliant starting point for someone wanting to hear Foals. Okay, so the tracks aren’t quite as refined as on [i]Antidotes[/i ]; although initially more enjoyable they have less replay value than the songs that made the album proper. Overall the resounding quality of this EP seeps through, and even with a few pitfalls manages to deliver more than expected

Overall 3.5 Great



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user ratings (21)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Fugue
January 9th 2009



7352 Comments


So I wrote this quite differently to how I usually write my reviews, hope it worked.

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 9th 2009



4459 Comments


don't write a review that is a comparison to another album. Treat them as seperate entities, using other releases by the group as reference points. It isn't fair to compare this to another release, and ultimately it comes off as lazy as I'm sure you are not. Otherwise it's fairly well written review.

Fugue
January 9th 2009



7352 Comments


Ha yeah your probably right. The reason I did it like this was that the album basically is Antidotes Jr. but maybe the review didn't come across as well as I had hoped.

robin
Emeritus
January 10th 2009



4248 Comments


i dunno, i think this can be put up against antidotes considering that this,essentially is a partner to it. and it's a good review.

i don't like this ep much, but a great album antidotes is. not one to embrace it as much as you apparently though, as the second half is pretty boring i think. they also put on a great show.

Fugue
January 10th 2009



7352 Comments


That was what I was attempting to go for, thanks for the compliment.
Personally, Antidotes was one of the albums of 2008 for me, I think it is brilliant, and this EP holds its own as well.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 10th 2009



7326 Comments


Didn't really like all the comparisons with Franz Ferdinand and Antidotes, but the review was very well written. I haven't heard Antidotes, as the singles didn't really make much of an impact with me, but I might check it out if I can find it cheap.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I finally got around to reading this Ross. In my opinion, I have absolutely no issue with the way you have compared this EP to the full-length. The reason for my opinion is because (I presume that) the majority of listeners would not have even known Foals existed when this EP was released. They would only be going back to it after they heard, and were impressed by, 'Antidotes'. I had the same kind of issues when I was reviewing MGMT's 'Time To Pretend' EP.
Clear, easy to read & informative review... Worthy of a pos for mine.

Fugue
January 12th 2009



7352 Comments


Ali: Yeah maybe the Franz references are a little vague, but I'm happy with the Antidotes ones, as I don't see how else I could have done it.
Album is defnately worth it, especially if you can get it on the cheap, I think you can get it for about a fiver nowbut I'm not sure.

DAvey: Thanks for the kind words and the pos vote. Hmm I'll check that review out as I recently got the MGMT album and love it.

BillboardBeauty
March 19th 2009



5 Comments


Nice little review.

The only thing I'd take issue with is your saying that "“Big big love (Fig.1)” is as it is on the album."

While the structure of the song doesn't really change I think the production and feel of it is very different. Having been a big Foals fan since back before the album and 'Fig.1' being one of my favourite pre-album tracks I was a little disappointed with the album version ('fig.2').

I think it sort of dulls it down, reduces it to a more ambient experience and the sharpness of 'fig.1' is lost. 'Fig.2' is certainly more in-keeping with the overall feel of the album, which I guess is why it's done, but for people who like the more angular, sharper sounds of 'Hummer' and 'Mathletics' I would certainly recommend 'Fig.1' of 'Big Big Love'.

Fugue
March 25th 2009



7352 Comments


Thanks. Actually listening to it now I can notice the difference in the atmosphere between fig.1 and fig.2. When I have some time I'll change that part of the review :-)

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey, I remember this review... It was written when Rosco was just a little Linguistic Mutation. Now I might actually comment on the actual EP…

Hyperactively energetic, this EP is highlighted by Foals’ jangly Bloc Party-like angular guitars, which are nicely accentuated by the effective use of synths. Immediately catchy, its first 3 tracks are its backbone and it is a mystery why at least one of them was not included on their forthcoming debut full-length release. Variety is relatively minimal since the English quintet focus on their strengths, but it works just fine on a 6 track EP… Although, the closing remix of the title track doesn’t exactly work in isolation. Recommended Tracks: Hummer, Astronauts N All & Mathletics.




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