By Christian Hartselle
Their previous album Holy Fire launched them into the attention of a wider audience. Holy Fire debuted more than two years ago. Foals fans had a taste of the new album in thesampler. If the rest of the album is anything like “London Thunder,” they should be happy with the new LP.
What Went Down sounds like it might be more melancholy than Foals’ previous releases, though their past albums certainly had a fair share of dejected undertones. That said, the jolting rhythms and powerful chord progressions seem to remain the same, as long as the impression this single leaves behind is any indicator of what is to come on Friday.
Foals is masterful in its execution of emotive power. The stunningly serene riffs performed by lead singer Yannis Philippakis leave us breathless. “London Thunder” also draws a seamless duality between melodic lines and their words. Each relies on the other, and the separation of the two is unimaginable. This marriage between song and text is gorgeous in “London Thunder,” as it carries us in transition softly and purposefully. The music Foals has produced so far necessarily develops into the bridge in this manner, and then reverts to the cold conclusions of its choruses: “And now the tables turn / It’s over.”
But the reason Foals captures their fans is by their paralyzing cadences; one phrase leads on to and truly deserves the next. This is a relief from the unpalatable techniques too many bands resort to in order to achieve the same attention Foals does — Foals needs not yell, crescendo aimlessly, or crush our eardrums with an abrupt bridge. Foals earns its recognition from the nuanced quality of its music.