Foals and the stable door
Over the last few weeks, the new Foals’ album “Total Life Forever” has been a constant on the OTR stereo. It’s an album which ticks many boxes: new emotional widths and depths, fantastic tunes, splendid melodic complexity, really strong musical …
Over the last few weeks, the new Foals’ album “Total Life Forever” has been a constant on the OTR stereo. It’s an album which ticks many boxes: new emotional widths and depths, fantastic tunes, splendid melodic complexity, really strong musical chops and an overall sound several giant leaps on from their debut album. Foals didn’t repeat themselves or take a ride down the same line again. They went in an entirely different direction and threw caution to the winds. All bands pay lip service to such ideas yet, in the heel of the hunt, they always rein in their wilder excesses. Not Foals: they finally walked the walk like they talked the talk.
Perhaps, then, I’d unrealistic expectations going into their Dublin show on Friday night. Yes, there were thrills and spills – that is, if you count the cliched idea of a lead singer stagediving into the crowd a few times to run the clock down as a thrill. Throwing a pair of drumsticks at someone who may or may not have thrown a pint at him inevitably counts as a spill. But the material came by and large from their debut album “Antidotes”, which made the gig more of an indie disco by way of Skins rather than the experience of a band taking their cues from the new album.
And yes, I know the counter arguments. The new album is just out! People don’t know the songs! “Antidotes” is great! They probably haven’t figured out how to play “Black Gold” live yet! Go see them in a few months time and it will be a different story! Jesus Christ, you man Yannis leapt into the crowd! Twice!
But the fact remains that while “Total Life Forever” takes the band into brand new terrain, the live show they played in Dublin at the weekend simply saw them stepping onto a familiar treadmill. Instead of following the trajectory set on the new release, where they ditch the angular template in favour of a more rounded and intriguing set of drafts, Foals have taken a few steps backwards. What could – and should – have been a chance to fly higher than the sun turned out instead to be a burst of energetic running on the spot.