Holy Fire by Foals


Having set extremely high standards with their previous albums – Antidotes and Total Life Forever, the Foals’ latest release Holy Fire has only added to their credibility. Though underestimated across the Atlantic, this outfit from Oxford has steadily matured over time, without desperately discarding their identity like some are notoriously known for. Holy Fire is yet a deviation from their familiar genre of indie-rock, to an experimental mix of dance-punk, giving the album a very pop-esque sound. With gripping contemporary music, it’s no surprise that the Foals have been included in the line-up for Coachella 2013.


#1. Prelude 4:07
#2. Inhaler 4:54
#3. My Number 4:03
#4. Bad Habit 4:40
#5. Everytime 4:04
#6. Late Night 5:30
#7. Out of the Woods 3:25
#8. Milk and Black Spiders 5:17
#9. Providence 4:08
#10. Stepson 4:49
#11. Moon 4:53


Yannis Philippakis: Lead Vocals, Guitar
Jimmy Smith: Guitar
Walter Gervers: Bass, Backing Vocals
Edwin Congreave: Keyboard, Backing Vocals
Jack Bevan: Drums


Alan Moulder


11th February, 2013


My Number


Even on a customary first listen through the tracklisting, you’ll realize how drastically the signature Foals sound has changed. See it as an improvisation or deterioration depending on your perspective, but the once humble and modest artists have picked popularity over anonymity. The grandiosity and success of this album rests on the shoulders of the producer duo, Flood and Alan Moulder, as with varied influences, they’ve attempted to broaden their horizons which is clear in their near-instrumental opening track, Prelude.


First singles Inhaler and My Number have also garnered a positive vote from the audience, who fair to say have been waiting for the better part of three years since their 2010 sophomore. The bold and raw riffs with steady drum beats are consistent throughout, and though often seen by few as a negative, the vocals are overpowered by the intense music around it. Undeniably catchy, the funky verses on these singles similar to the ones on prior hit Mathletics have the potential to be considered pop-classics.


But if you’re looking for the next Spanish Sahara, prepare yourself for disappointment. The closest they come to it is with Bad Habit; with a heavy build-up in the first half, there is a sudden drop where the formerly melodious vocals of Yannis are seen. He effortlessly continues to beguile the listener thus with Late Night and Stepson, and shower the listener with glimpses of the band’s initial sound. The faint piano and distorted drums are a contrast between the chaotic yet sober vocals, while the layering sounds serve to entice and reflect the maturity of the band. To top it off, an absolutely sublime finish to the album lies in Moon, with elevated riffs that gradually drift off into serenity.


So will Holy Fire be nominated for the Mercury Prize again? In all probability it will, seeing that it has an even balance of an ambient yet indie sounding tracklist like its previously nominated predecessor in Total Life Forever. Yes, it’s commercialized, but the five-piece should be given credit for experimenting and stepping out of their collective comfort zones. They’ve tried to include songs that please everyone, ranging from defiantly quirky to strongly sullen. It may be challenging for their listeners to get accustomed to this unfamiliar sound, but the album is a grower and it isn’t quite easily forgettable either.





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