Foals – Total Life Forever

Total Life Forever’ is English band Foals second album released in 2010. The band said that the album’s sound can be described as “the dream of an eagle dying“. Oook then, no drugs involved here. Four singles were released from the record and it did pretty well where ever it was released. Their debut ‘Antidotes‘ had also done well two years before and I still remember (somehow) hearing ‘Cassius’ and ‘Balloons’ in college nightclubs and bars.

Regardless of whatever shite talk they go on about to describe the album, Foals had their own tiny niche in the area of indie/math and alternative rock back in the late noughties. They had strange ways of recording and mixing such as recording drum sets in alleyways on cassettes. Yannis Philippakis has a solid voice and he mixes it up pretty often. I saw them live back in 2013 and it was a great gig, they were going mental on stage which I didn’t really expect. They even won the live act of the year in 2013 at some show.

‘Spanish Sahara’ was the first single released from the record and is solid enough to lead the line. It showcases the many abilities of Foals as they maintain a simple guitar sound during the intro whilst the beat picks up in the background. The pace of the song does increase as it moves along and Philippakis’s tone is something different to what fans would have heard from single’s of the previous record. We get the several stages of Foals with this track, so I can see why they released it as a single. ‘This Orient’ followed as a second single and it’s far more upbeat. It’s certainly a change from ‘Spanish Sahara’ but definitely as single they needed to release. The trouble with this one is that it’s just a little dead. Once you’ve heard the first 30/40 seconds, you’ve heard the whole song. ‘Miami’ is a little more like what you’d expect from Foals. It’s far more unique in sound from the previous singles and not all laid out before you. Much more catchy with its guitar and still single worthy.

With regards to the rest of the album there are some decent tracks. However, the title track is good at best. As with ‘This Orient’ and other tracks it fails to pick up and the sound alone doesn’t make it a stand-out. ‘Black Gold’ is a track I like because although it remains calm for most of the track, it comes to life halfway through and we see the side of Foals most people prefer. The album needed this lift at this point, and it carries onto ‘Spanish Sahara’ from there. After ‘This Orient’ we get to ‘Fugue’ which is just an intermission really.

‘After Glow’ is a track I can get into. A song that seems to be about this character being left behind and Foals play to this anger with their sound, so as a whole I see it complete. And loud, which I like. ‘Alabaster’ is a funky enough track but it’s ‘2 Trees’ that of more interest to me because of the use of guitar. There’s a continued ripping followed by a more relaxed exit paired with laser and electro noises. ‘What Remains’ is the final track and it’s one of the better ones. The chorus is catchy and the drums are pretty cool throughout. It grows and grows but doesn’t carry on for longer than it should which is the case with some tracks.

‘Total Life Forever‘ as a whole is grand. It has it’s theme and it’s sound. I think many Foals fans would have seen it as a step backwards after the release of their debut, but then again bands need to change it up. I’m still a big fan of Foals and their math/alt/funk rock sound and ‘Total Life Forever’ is an important piece of the jigsaw. So, pick it up if you see it somewhere, it’s worth it and you may become a Foalower. Sorry, I had to.

G.M

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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