Review ·

Very shortly after their just-fine debut album, Antidotes, landed on these shores, the young Brits in Foals up and decided the record wasn’t any good. They said it wasn’t “insurmountable by any means,” and they publicly complained about TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek’s production, which for some people was the only reason to give Foals any thought. Too many times before, we’ve heard the “but this isn’t the album we wanted to make!” argument from bands who underperformed out of the gate, which is why Foals' shtick feels so tired. But that’s also why it’s surprising that Foals’ sophomore album, Total Life Forever, is basically Antidotes 2.0: No Antibalas Horns. These guys apparently disliked how they sounded on their debut so much they decided to replicate it.

 

Because of that similarity, it feels like I’m reviewing Antidotes here, because the reasons why that album never completely connects are the same reasons that Total Life Forever doesn’t either. Lyrically, Foals are often cliché and direct (requests to go to someone’s arms, to come back, to “be there,” for example), but singer Yannis Philippakis, who clearly studied at the alter of Bono, is also sometimes hopelessly oblique and is often not saying anything at all (“Miami” has no references to the earth’s sweatiest city, and the phrase “total life forever” is unclear even after it gets shouted a bunch in the title track).

 

Foals still play with styles -- they can veer between poppy math rock and rocky angular post-punk -- and it still feels like they’re on the verge of a stylistic breakthrough that has yet to happen. For every sonic experiment like the vocal-sample built “This Orient,” there’s a sub Bloc Party-jack like “After Glow.” For every soaring, ready for ad placement jam like “Black Gold,” there’s a “Miami,” a song that lifts from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Snow Patrol in equally awful measure.

 

The one thing Foals did succeed in on Total Life Forever is removing any sense that they’re a Dave Sitek studio creation, because his formerly heavy sonic fingerprint is nowhere to be found here. But what that actually means is that horns from Sitek’s pals in Antibalas aren’t around, and the guitars don’t sound as much like they were computer programmed. Everything else is in its right place.

 

All in all, though, Total Life Forever is a slightly more assured record from Foals; this time out they sound like they’ve taken complete ownership of their music. They were originally called out for being a new version of the umpteen shimmery post-punk bands that came before them, but with Total Life Forever, Foals can now (mostly) be considered as an entity unto themselves.        

 

***

Band: http://www.foals.co.uk

Label: http://www.subpop.com

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/foals

 

  • Blue Blood
  • Miami
  • Total Life Forever
  • Black Gold
  • Spanish Sahara
  • This Orient
  • Fugue
  • After Glow
  • Alabaster
  • Two Trees
  • What Remains

This English quintet was compared to Talking Heads and various Kraut rock bands because of the way they used funky rhythms on their debut album, Antidotes, from 2008. For their follow up, they started recording last summer at Svenska Gramofon in Sweden and later claimed in the New Musical Express that the resulting tracks will have a more prog rock sound. They’ve also switched producers, moving from co-producer Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio) to Luke Smith, who frontman Yannis Philippakis called “kind of an alchemist” at The-Fly.co.uk. The singer went on to call the new tracks “definitely the darkest stuff, and the slowest stuff” the band has done.

 

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foals es muy bueno hueon tienen que escucharlos
el ultimo tema que sacaron es muy de la onda de radiohead
son muy buenos

javier

Track list and album art added!

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

This is the worst review I've ever read in my life. Period.
I don't really even understand why "cliché" and "direct" have to be thought as BAD, and why non - referential lyrics like TOTAL LIFE FOREVER are bad, too. Go read a book and shut up.
Oh you made me angry.

jj

I should have listened to my instinct and stopped reading when you claimed that TLF is "Antidotes 2.0" because if you can seriously write that it proves you simply haven't listened to the album.

Approriately the rest of the review was abysmal. This is a magnificent album, an enormous daparture from Antidotes and will be one of the best records of the year - as has been largely recognised by any one with a brain who has reviewed it.

Adam

HAVE YOU EVEN LISTENED TO THE ALBUM????
its as far away as possible from Antidotes
Total life forever is the closest resemblance to anything from antidotes, as well as the foals B-sides.the whole thing is a MASSIVE move away from their usual sound.
and its an incredible album, and will get more recognition than a review like this.
jeez

Nima

I have never read a more inaccurate piece of sh*t review in my life. First off- Dave Sitek (and TVOTR for that matter) aren't half the musicians Foals are- 'Heavy sonic imprint'?- they refused his mix and mixed it themselves! I wouldn't give Dave Sitek much if any credit for Antidotes 'sound'- in fact Sitek probably took more cues from Foals song structure than they learned from him- go back and listen to 'Dear Science'- you'll see. This is a complete departure from Antidotes- its so painfully obvious! as for the lyrics- 'Go read a book' is right- there are references throughout the album that if you had a clue you would get. This is a fantastic album, a huge album, and Foals are just getting started.

jm

Nima, let's be honest, it's "not as far away as possible" from Antidotes. It would have to be west coast g-funk with a free-jazz influence to be that.

I think my favorite comment of all time is the ones where everyone is like, "you didn't listen to the album" because I didn't like it that much (and in this case, a 6.0 is pretty positive. I didn't hate this, it's just okay). I just wonder why that argument is never used on the inverse. It's never like someone goes, You like that album? You need to listen to it more, and you'll hate it.

How would listening to it "more" than the half dozen times I spun this benefit me any more? Would I begin to "understand" this in a different way?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

"First off- Dave Sitek (and TVOTR for that matter) aren't half the musicians Foals are" lol

"...in fact Sitek probably took more cues from Foals song structure than they learned from him- go back and listen to 'Dear Science'- you'll see." lol

I have never read a more inaccurate, piece of sh*t comment in my life

pat

for one pat- 'Red Dress' has Antidotes written all over it.

jm

It also has Prince written all over it.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

People people, you don't need to listen to this joker, what an absolute hanful of testicles this review is. Clash review say it as it is. This album is far removed from antidotes which is an equally epic piece of work i might add! Along with 'We were dead before the ship even sank' by Modest Mouse, this is the best album ive heard this year so far! 'What Remains' and 'Spanish Sahara' are brilliant!

Ollie

This is a crap review.

I'm sorry, but this is a very different Antidotes. Just listen to both albums properly.The fact that you have listened to the album a ''half dozen times'' only serves to highlight your inablility to recognise the fundamental differences in style and mood between it and Antidotes.

Please don't ever try to review good music again.

Andrew

I know why this review was so bad. It was written by a 14 year old boy. Just check out his "Simpson's" Cartoon profile picture. Secondly, TVotR have a couple amazing tracks but fall far more repeatitive and flat than Foals.

Passive Morals

I would agree with much of this review... some friends recommended this album, and I have found it ranges from sounding like the nu-age bands I did NOT like in the lovely 80's to a poor man's Talking Heads/Andrew Bird/Late of the Pier etc etc...
There are some nice bits, but they soon get spoiled by someone who needs a good pooh, someone who is trying far too hard. Naah, 6/10 is fair.

mark palmos

I listen to so much different music all the time, across a range of genres, young and old. I do not discriminate against any genre of music. I am a new Foals fan, only just got into them. I listen to any music that excites me sonically. I have thoroughly listened to both albums. TLF IS BY FAR ONE OF THE BEST ALBUMS I HEARD IN A VERY LONG TIME, A MASSIVE SOUND SONICALLY, EXTREMELY WELL LAYERED SOUNDS, AND MUSICALLY BRILLIANT. Every band has their influences, Foals are no exception, saying this, they definately have their own originality. To say that TLF is another ANTIDOTES, is simply and totally uneducated, there are glimpses of Antidotes on TLF (this would be expected, they are successive albums, no brainer), but the two albums couldn't be further apart. It upsets me when uneducated people speak rubbish on the net with no grounding. I'd hate to think what you think is a good listen!

Charles13

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