Foals are the best version of themselves in this instance of momentary bliss, reflecting the anxiety of the world’s current climate.
Foals truly foregrounded the 8th March, stamping their return across the music scene and rising from their hiatus surrounded by rose-red palms and flora. ‘Part 1: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’, the half-dose of their double release, is all that you expect from the Oxford band, with the benefit of a contemporary perspective: this album encapsulates the present climate, and will be looked back on as a defining moment in their career.
After teasing us with the single, “Exits”, cryptic video clips and a presale that flopped, the build up to the album’s release was a part in its own right: the prologue, perhaps? On hearing “Exits”, we’re transported to a bleak, bird-less future (global warming, we hear you), with “On The Luna” lassoing us back to the present, in a flurry of 80s-movie-esque riffs. The sound itself is not defining, or indeed ambitious – it doesn’t need to be. Foals blossomed early and never wilted, resulting in a certain completeness that’s transcended throughout their albums. That’s not to say it’s not experimental, each song seems to steer away from the formulaic feel of previous work – cowbells and popping dance beats make for a vibrant adaptation of their original sound. It’s this adaptation that showcases Foals at their very best.
Yannis Philippakis’ airy vocals bring each track to life; there could be no other voice to hone in on these lyrics. Perhaps for the first time since ‘Antidotes’, we’re hearing the songs individually and can project a new-found (or maybe long-lost) appreciation onto this switch-up.
I was surprised by the remixed-funk quality of “In Degrees” – it’s a clever juxtaposition, almost resurrecting a sound we’d forgotten existed in their inventory: think “Total Life Forever” and “Black Gold”, but upcycled to the quality of a dance anthem. “Sunday” melts delicate riffs with lyrics of destruction and youth – its anthemic potential places it on the shelf with “Spanish Sahara” of ‘Total Life Forever’.
Followed by the tragic, dystopian ballad of “I’m Done With The World (& It’s Done With Me)”, Philippakis takes the mess of the world and carefully crafted a corner of beauty; I’m reminded of Tom Odell when his vocals first drift in. The piano-driven finale marks itself as the gateway to our interval, proving this to be an album built on anticipation, anxieties and glimmers of hope in the millennial mind.