Review: Foals – Holy Fire

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★★★★☆
Four Stars

Foals’ third studio album sees the five-piece embrace an altogether poppier and more epic sound than their previous two outings, helped along the way by veteran producers Flood and Alan Moulder. The fact that the duo have worked with acts such as U2 and Foo Fighters gives us a clear indication of the anthemic, arena-filling sound that Foals have set out to achieve in Holy Fire.

And boy do they achieve it, as emphatically exemplified by the album’s second track and lead single ‘Inhaler’. The slow build-up acts as a smokescreen, causing the listener to be completely unprepared for what follows. Yannis Philippakis’ vocals transform from a delicate falsetto at the beginning of the song into a roar as the song explodes into a frenzy of Pendulum-esque proportions. It seems funny to think that such a colossal song was borne out
of a dainty jam played by the band in between songs at gigs, which is testament to both the producers’ and Foals’ scope for imagination.

The next track ‘My Number’ is equally catchy, aided by its wonderfully simple lyrics – “You don’t have my number, we don’t need each other now” – and while it’s true that the album doesn’t regain the same heights of hysteria as
‘Inhaler’, this is not to say that it diminishes in quality or listenability. ‘Everytime’ continues in the same vein as ‘My Number’ with its instant hook and memory-friendly lyrics, while ‘Late Night’ and ‘Out of the Woods’ are altogether more downbeat affairs, yet majestic nonetheless, and perhaps serve as Holy Fire’s two most heartfelt moments. Moreover, the intricate blend of gentle guitars and strings in ‘Milk & Black Spiders’, coupled with emotive, sing-along lyrics will make it a sure-fire crowd favourite, as will the fast-paced ‘Providence’.

Though the album does tail off somewhat at the end Holy Fire is on the whole a very enjoyable, listenable and well-produced album, and certainly more grandiose than their previous two albums. With Holy Fire, Foals are staking their claim to be a credible player in the big league of indie rock. On this basis, it would be foolish to dismiss them.

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