What Went Down

Written by: TL on 04/09/2015 14:49:50

With the recent release of "What Went Down", UK indie/math rockers Foals arrive at their fourth full-length album since their 2008 debut "Antidotes". And on this newest opus they continue to expand the song arsenal that has helped them earn a reputation as one of the fiercest live acts in England, further exploring an ambitious style where sound design and ambiance play huge roles in the establishment of more of the thick, exotic atmospheres that the band has been conjuring up for a few records in a row now.

The first few songs do well to demonstrate the diversity on offer. The titular opening track channels the threatening, disconcerting edge that has often been found in the periphery of Foals atmospheres, giving off a vibe like an oncoming, post-punk locomotive. Immediately afterwards though, "Mountain At My Gate" comes to life by an otherwise bright and relaxed guitar jingle that rings most of the way through, yet even here, things surge to a romping level of intensity towards the end. "Birch Tree" keeps it mellow the whole way through, though, showing off the band's contrasting of mathy guitar and bass lines with blooming, enveloping ambiance in the background. Apart from the strong opening duo, the best track on offer is otherwise "Snake Oil" at track six, which reintroduces a sense of danger and hypnotises the listener via a driving beat and a low, groovy signature riff. "London Thunder" is worth highlighting as well though, taking a balladic approach that's rare for the band, which gives frontman Yannis Philipakkis' ethereal singing an opportunity to step out from among the instruments and take a more leading, narrative role than what is customary for the band.

This in particular, however, also demonstrates an otherwise divisive characteristic in Foals' music, namely that they build things in a way where the volume and density of the whole are as big parts of the appeal as any signature riffs or choruses that would otherwise be in focus for most bands. It is more about movement, ebb and flow, and about the sensation it can give the listener when allowed to surround them in the large, amplified live-setting. Thus, while there's a sense of extra diversity on "What Went Down" compared to previous Foals albums, it still is not so much an album that reels you in by standout hooks, with songs like "Give It All" and "Lonely Hunter" figuring as examples that are unlikely to earn revisits on their own. Things work as part of the whole, though - a whole that does gratify you with a more slow-working joy when you give yourself the time to get fully immersed in its world.

Download: What Went Down, Mountain At My Gate, Snake Oil, London Thunder
For The Fans Of: Bombay Bicycle Club, The Maccabees, Annasaid

Release date 28.08.2015
Transgressive / Warner Bros

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI