Foals
Holy Fire


4.0
excellent

Review

by Matthew D. French USER (50 Reviews)
February 28th, 2013 | 49 replies | 2,089 views


Release Date: 02/11/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: on the cusp

Foals have been on the cusp of greatness for some time now, but something’s always been missing from their music. While their older albums are great in their own right, Foals have had a hard time parting themselves from their contemporaries (Bloc Party, Two Door Cinema), but Holy Fire is different insofar as it being a culmination of all the sounds Foals has been toying with for years, as well as a few not-so-fleshed-out ones. “Inhaler” is the quintessential Foals song, marrying all of their best elements in what’ll likely go down as the rock anthem of the year; “My Number” is the perfect example of what the top 40 should sound like, being their poppiest and most straightforward song to date, devoid of Philippakis’ subtext when he sings, ‘You don’t have my number / We don’t need each other now;’ and “Milk & Black Spiders” is the album’s epic highlight - its impact as strong as Total Life Forever’s centrepiece, “Spanish Sahara.” It’s brimming with pure pop glee (something they have an inherent aptitude for), and it has its rock-out moments as well.

Conversely, they’re squandering brilliance here. The atmospheric build to ‘Prelude’ is more of a tease than a hint of what’s to come, never truly resolving all of that pent-up tension, yet it also serves as a great example of Foals dabbling in a more experimental sound - one whose full potential has yet to be realized. Similarly (in its experimentation, not in sound) is the bookended “Moon,” an utterly listless piece and - to say the very least - a confusing way to conclude Holy Fire. It steps over that line of exercising a balance between indie-rock and atmosphere and plunges headfirst into the latter, treading along as slow as molasses and failing to be as poignant as Foals would have us think it is. However, although this hodgepodge of ideas ultimately disservices Holy Fire in that it feels too scatterbrained for its own good, it isn’t deplorable by any means. Quite the contrary; it’s fun to hear Foals toying around with new aesthetic elements, especially when they fit the mold. The somewhat ironically titled “Out Of The Woods” is telling of this. Unlike many of the songs in the latter half of Holy Fire, “Out Of The Woods” doesn’t feel oversaturated in ambiance, rather, it’s surrounded by a kind of drafty atmosphere that isn’t ever competing with the music - it sinks in nicely, giving room for glockenspiels and dreamy keys. Also noteworthy, “Inhaler”’s stadium-sized chorus is soaked in an almost shoegaze-y atmosphere with Philippakis shouting ‘And I can’t get enough SPAAAAAAAACE’ over a wall of noise. (It actually almost sounds like something Thursday would write... Well, the chorus, at least).

All in all, Holy Fire simultaneously delights and frustrates. At times (most notably on “Inhaler”) it makes their past albums sound as though they were made up of mere breathing exercises by comparison, while other times it’s maddeningly frustrating to hear just how hard they missed the mark. Foals are definitely building towards something big, and while this album isn’t their defining statement, it helps bring new ideas to the table and pave the way for them. So take it as it is: a collection of enjoyable tunes with some not-so-great ideas that they’ll have to work on. There’s a classic in Foals yet, but for now we’ll just have to settle for a more consolidated sound.



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user ratings (280)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
February 27th 2013



14627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

hey so uh, hope i'm still decent at this reviewing thing.

haven't posted one in a while but there will be many more to come

Tyrael
February 27th 2013



20393 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What have you done

Digging: Lantlos - Melting Sun

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2013



4334 Comments


Excellent work, Matt. The writing is superb as always. I've never heard a Foals album though, may have to check them out.

breakingthefragile
February 27th 2013



2935 Comments


OH MY GOD MATT UPLOADED A REVIEW!

Gyromania
February 27th 2013



14627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i know it's such a rarity! trust me though you'll be sick of my reviews this year, because i plan to be posting a lot more often (for real this time).

hernan: thanks man. check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAsGFnLl2u0

nononsense
February 27th 2013



3263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a damn good album

Digging: For The Fallen Dreams - Heavy Hearts

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2013



23604 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bro you should use the powers of that fancy tag of yours to expose sputnik users to albums that don't already have four 4/5 reviews. I mean, write about what you want (and this is a good review, for sure) but it's something to think about at least, no?

anyway, not trying to hate. review is cool and I love this album. I hope this means you're going to start reviewing more frequently again.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
February 27th 2013



6731 Comments


Have I read this already? It's a great writte up Matt, hope to see you changing the gears

Gyromania
February 27th 2013



14627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

adrian: yeah i actually used to cover more obscure things, like current 93 or daedelus, and i also did some osts and stuff like tabula rasa.

i just kind of had this review done so, y'know, why not. my next review (which i might post tomorrow) is for sadistik's new album, so that's definitely more underground.

cheers

Gyromania
February 27th 2013



14627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

thanks ipod!

definitely changing gears

Mordecai.
February 27th 2013



8255 Comments


I've been fapping to this album so hard over the last few weeks. Good review too.

Mordecai.
February 27th 2013



8255 Comments


Double post what of it? Blow me.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2013



4334 Comments


That was a really catchy song, I'll have to download this.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2013



9463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

So proud of u, Dr. French! :-*

Digging: Koan Sound - Dynasty

Gyromania
February 28th 2013



14627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

: 3

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2013



9463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

Really though, nice work. Glad to see you back in the swing of things, man.

Gyromania
February 28th 2013



14627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

cheers. i'm glad to be back, just gotta maintain a steady flow of output

Gyromania
February 28th 2013



14627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

you nailed it dude!

Gyromania
February 28th 2013



14627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

lol oh stop it, you knew you weren't going to read it regardless, and that's fine because it's short and has all been said before anyway

Mordecai.
February 28th 2013



8255 Comments


reviews r dumb



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