Foals
Holy Fire


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dan H. CONTRIBUTOR (54 Reviews)
February 11th, 2013 | 93 replies


Release Date: 02/11/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Foals continue to evolve and improve.

The descriptions that emerged of Foals’ new sound on their third release Holy Fire alluded to both experimentation and a smooth transition to the live stage. Interviews with front-man Yannis Philippakis saw words such as “swampiness” and “heat” used repeatedly; unsurprising given the setting in which Holy Fire was conceived. Recorded primarily live in a serene riverside location with mainly insects for company, the band even went as far as dropping any tracks which “didn’t sound good in the environment.” Such strict resolve is not only commendable but is excellent news for fans who are already accustomed to their energetic, visceral live performances. Holy Fire is more experimental than Foals’ previous releases and it covers more ground than the winsome Antidotes or the progressive Total Life Forever; as it creates a bridge between their début and their sophomore release whilst also exploring new territory.

Some of the strongest moments on Holy Fire emerge when Foals recall the bouncy, playful riffs that permeated their début release and incorporate them with the mature song-writing demonstrated on Total Life Forever. Lead single “Inhaler” sees a typically strong lead riff built upon patiently, until the tension is relieved amid a wall of crunching guitars, before quickly softening and allowing the process to begin all over again. Upon comparing the measured “Inhaler” and the relentlessly enthusiastic “Balloons” we see not only an evolved song structure, but a natural progression that touches upon elements of both Antidotes and Total Life Forever; demonstrating their ability to marry energy with maturity expertly.

The experimental elements of Holy Fire can best be summed up with the juxtaposition of two songs. Containing the catchy, toe tapping grooves of previous efforts such as “Miami,” “My Number” cranks the aforementioned traits up to 11. Featuring one of the strongest rhythm sections on the album, lead vocalist Yannis Philippakis describes it as a “Curtis Mayfield groove which [is] unashamedly funk;” and he wouldn't be far wrong. Including probably the brightest, most colourful bass line Foals have ever put to record and a delicate vocal delivery, “My Number” effectively pays homage to its intended influence. In contrast, penultimate track “Stepson” has an organic quality and thrives on minimalism, whilst accurately reflecting the conditions in which it was recorded. Achieved with a delay pedal on the guitars and an almost distant sounding Philippakis, the stripped down sound is miles away from the rhythmically busy “My Number.”

The pitfalls on Holy Fire occur at both the beginning and the end of the album. Coming from a band who penned the measured brilliance that was “Spanish Sahara,” the anti-climatic album opener “Prelude” is as much a surprise as it is a disappointment. A gradual build up never fully convinces in its attempt to set up “Inhaler,” whilst it also isn't strong enough to be viewed as a standalone track. The similarly underwhelming “Moon” drifts on the back of delicate picking and a light synth line, but fails to develop into the fitting album closer it promises to be, as it looks to emulate the formula on “Stepson” but instead falls slightly short. The fact that these are the only minor issues on Holy Fire is testament to its ambition and quality, and with their UK tour selling out within hours of going on general release, Foals’ growing popularity is only eclipsed by the strength of their blossoming discography.



Recent reviews by this author
Basement Further SkyBen Howard I Forget Where We Were
FACT WitnessWillis Earl Beal Acousmatic Sorcery
Interpol El PintorMaybeshewill Fair Youth
user ratings (319)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2013


1028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Originally posted at: www.muzikdizcovery.com/

So this album is their third top release in a row, long may it continue.

BigPleb
February 11th 2013


37536 Comments


Nice review man, pos.

Digging the 'Inhaler' single they have out, gonna have to check this!

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2013


1028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks man. Yeh Inhaler is excellent, My Number and Late Night are probably the other strongest tracks.

00mee
February 11th 2013


213 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

decent review, summed up my thoughts on this nicely

agree especially on how underwhelming the prelude was

EaglesBecomeVultures
February 11th 2013


5266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice, this needed a review, will read in a bit

Digging: Dean Blunt - Black Metal

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2013


10354 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

I actually love Prelude, and think the album's worst part is its middle. Moon does suck though

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2013


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

top.

Moon struck me as a shitty Evening Hymns track.

CasinoColumbus
February 11th 2013


340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album isn't nearly what I was hoping it to be. Not even close to TLF in my opinion. If only Prelude and Moon would have been better it would be a solid 4. I would give it a 3.5 at this moment, but I'll give it some more spins, because I really wanted this thing to rule. Stoked about seeing them live next month nonetheless.

Nice review too, pos'd.

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2013


1028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks. It does open and close poorly and my score might drop over time. They're seriously great live Casino, a lot heavier and more atmospheric.

EaglesBecomeVultures
February 11th 2013


5266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

will probably end up at 3.5 for me just been digging it lately
review was a good read, have a pos

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2013


10354 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

So is the album streaming now? Is that why this is posted here?

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2013


1028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It was released today.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2013


10354 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

Haha, oh! I forgot that still happens..

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2013


7401 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Again, nice review Dan. I've listened to this a few more times and I'm pretty confident I like it more than their other two. It's certainly their most consistent.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2013


10354 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

WHAAAAT

I like this album, but so many tracks here come off as worse versions of TLF's best tracks. "Stepson" is a meandering "Spanish Sahara" to me, and "Bad Habit" really resembles "This Orient."

But I'll keep listening to it, because I really want to be passionate about this album.

tarkus
February 11th 2013


5560 Comments


new foals wag

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2013


7401 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Total Life Forever has some great tracks but a lot of it seems to wash over me. Honestly, the entire second half feels like a complete non-event to me.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2013


10354 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

I do agree with you about tracks like "What Remains," but then there were songs like "Afterglow"

Scoot
February 11th 2013


17883 Comments


listening to this now, it's pretty good so far

Digging: The Smith Street Band - Throw Me In The River

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
February 11th 2013


1028 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers Ali. I'm finding it hard to rank them, I have a feeling it will differ day by day and of course by how this one ages. TLF might just win.

Jacob I considered Late Night to be the "Spanish Sahara", and its probably my favourite here.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy