Oxford five-piece Foals have generated considerable hype on the indie-rock circuit. But can Antidotes, their first full album, provide a cure to increasingly derivative music acts?
The best-known single is probably ‘Cassius’, and much of the album shares the same frenetic high-energy, drum’n’bassish feel. The songs really make you want to get up and do a bit of that kind of dreamy robot that all the kids seem to be doing- the drumming is consistently excellent, the bass is smooth, the guitars vary from hypnotically melodic to tweakily perky and the vocals, though somewhat nondescript, blend well with the overall sound.
The lyrics are quite stream-of-consciousness, reflective with a general theme of loss. Some may read ‘emo cry-baby nonsense’ from the above, and they probably have a point: on ‘Olympic Airways’, they do after all express a desire to ’disappear till tomorrow…if only we could move away from here’. ‘Electric Bloom’ describes ‘an empty morgue with gurning hearts and hollowed crowns’, concluding that ‘it’s just another hospital’. However, the band can be forgiven their occasional forays into self-indulgent nihilism as most of the lyrics are catchily repetitive, cheerfully meaningless and pleasingly assonant.
If Foals’ brief was to make music that could get people on the dance floor, then they have succeeded. Antidotes is a layered album that works on a number of levels, taking the best parts of bands like Bloc Party and mixing it up with unusual time-signatures, afro influences and technical excellence to produce something that hails back to early Cure. While this is certainly not pony, it remains to be seen whether Foals can become stallions.Monique Davis
4 stars out of 5