Review Summary: Floating on cloud nine, only a few steps away from complete maturity.
The album jumps right into a bright, acid-trippy vibe, per typical Foster-fashion. If I had to compare listening to a Foster the People song to any one thing, I would say it is kind of like tripping out on too much candy, or whatever your drug of choice may be, on the top of a cloud overlooking a fast-paced city.
What makes them unique is simply how they approach the genres of pop, rock, electronic/psychedelia, and indie. They have this weird adoration for simple acoustic settings paired with hip hop drum claps, slightly quirky vocals, and all other sorts of aesthetic and sonic noises. I feel like they, like most artists in this new wave of music, focus on this idea of the supernatural, or something beyond what they can completely see. Their music sounds kind of like a sonic ride to another galaxy.
I want to point out that I have a bad habit of idealizing what “their music kind of sounds like,” but this is all I can really do to review an album by a band in the purest way possible. Talking about each song individually is boring and so is trying to compare their music to other musicians. Everyone influences everyone in music, and everything is a rip off of something else.
The good thing about Foster the People is they do have a unique and definitive identity and this album, although not entirely better than “Torches,” completely breaks the stereotype of a sophomore slump. They add to their past repertoire of sound in a positive way. This album does fit into the mold of most second albums as more of a concept album though. Each song led me through the continuing journey of a supermodel, which could be defined in this context as someone walking down the street, or in the midst of a group of people, feeling comfortable and confident with who they are.
Some of my favorite tracks include Ask Yourself, Coming of Age, Best Friend, Goats in Trees, and Fire Escape. If you played these five songs in order, you would have a slow song followed by two fast-paced songs followed by two more acoustic songs, which is basically a microcosm of how the entire album is, which I find quite enjoyable and clever, as it kept me on my toes and never allowed me to get stuck in the same pace while listening to one track after another.
I especially love the video for “Coming of Age”, as seen here (https://vimeo.com/86331308). The video heightened my appreciation for this band’s creativity and opened my eyes to the high commercial possibilities for the single. My friend told me he thought “Coming of Age” did not have that big bang in the middle he had become accustomed to in a Foster the People song, but upon listening to it, I realized the song’s steady pace actually really drew me in with how upbeat and laid-back it was all the way through. Most of the other songs had something a little experimental about them, but this one was more of an obvious hit and that isn’t a bad thing.
Personally, my biggest disappointment on the album was the fact that the song “Truth” did not turn out to be the same song as the one entitled “We Can Tell the Truth” collaborated on by Luke Pritchard of the Kooks and Mark Foster (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VISBV1DrwkM).
Anyways, overall it is a solid album overall, and left me in a rather introspective mood about existence and the fast moving pace of society and time. I cannot wait for more to come from this band, as they continue to show the potential for absolute greatness with their genuine lyrical style, and laid back lead ups into vibrant hooks in the choruses.