Like most people, my introduction to Foster the People was "Pumped Up Kicks", a horrid, lazy, omnipresent piece of goth-kitsch that nevertheless suggested an artist with the potential to churn out some non-horrid and potentially interesting pop. This debut album mostly supports this intuition: none of the ten other tracks on Torches is anywhere near as awful as "Pumped up Kicks". Highlights "Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)", "Houdini", and opener "Helena Beat" are actually pretty great, although the latter two have already been around for awhile having made their first appearance on January's Foster the People E.P. Unfortunately, Torches suffers from the bog-standard problem facing "bands" that are really solo artists with a couple of friends in tow. Most of the songs are interchangable one with another, not because of lazy songwriting, but because of a lack of range or any competing ideas. This is not helped by the presence of three tracks written by hired hands. "Miss You" in particular is indistinguisable from all the Foster compositions, making the boast that "what I got can't be bought", delivered by Foster but written for him by Paul Epworth on "Call It What You Want", unintentionally amusing. Still, these are solid electro-pop songs that stand up extremely well to repeat listening, due in large part to the meaty interplay of piano and synth, and Cubbie Fink's appealingly organic bass playing. They would be immensely fun to dance to at a festival while drinking wine on the grass. I bet they're fun to play live too. Burn bright, guys.