Friday, August 28, 2015

Album Review :: Foals - What Went Down


What Went Down

August 28 2015 (Transgressive)


Words: Alison Mack

If second albums are the notorious 'difficult' ones, one can only guess what must have been going through Yannis Philippakis’s mind on the creation and birth of Foals' fourth studio work, having already disgorged on confessional second album 'Total Life Forever' and its 2013 follow-up, 'Holy Fire'. Anything left for another rock around a full-length record?

What's going down this time seems to be a move into rock thunder. From the bombastic drums of the math rock-like 'Mountain At My Gates' with Philippakis’ building to a climactic flourish of fuzz, to the complex guitar work of 'Birch Tree', and back to the title track that builds from a raft of drums and motorik beats to deliver Foals' more experimentational side as we have thus far heard.

'Night Swimmers', buoyant in floating synths and lean guitar lines, is as vital as anything yet the Oxford band have produced; elsewhere 'Lonely Hunter' fills out with an anthemic chorus, silvery synths and determined drums, while the softly ambient 'London Thunder' gets away on little more than sparse percussion and minimal guitars. 'Albatross', on the other hand, soars on cinematic piano and rises from a brief dreamy interlude to head at a pace to its final notes. Album closer 'A Knife In The Ocean' is a fittingly majestic last act in its seven minutes of delayed guitar that rises above Jack Bevan's sturdy drum beats, swelling synths and lushly intricate chords.

With 'What Went Down' Foals seal their position as one of the best British bands to be had right now.

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