I fell in love with Foals in late-2008. Their debut album “Antidotes” actually played a huge role in my starting to blog about music in the first place: I had to share it with as many people as possible, thus starting a mailing list that eventually grew into two successive websites. Tada! Almost two years later, here we are at round two. Unfortunately for many bands, I tend to look at sophomore albums very critically, and I know I’m not the only one. That makes for an insane amount of pressure on bands like Foals, who made a great splash on debut. Sometimes follow-up albums repeat the tried and true formula. More often, they attempt to take things in a new direction which sometimes ends up completely failing. With “Total Life Forever”, Foals have done a little of both. The end result? A bit of a relief.
The first single released for the album was “Spanish Sahara”, and in hindsight I think that the Oxford five-piece was trying to throw a curve-ball at us. The song starts of slowly and quietly, building to a huge crescendo after a few minutes. While I don’t think that the song itself is entirely reflective of the sound produced by Foals, it does embody much of the formula used by Foals in this album: build-ups. The beauty is that on “Total Life Forever”, the majority of these build-ups explode into the math-rock evinced in their first album, fulfilling the expectations of those fans of “Antidotes”. The song above, “After Glow”, perfectly exemplifies this tactic. The result is at once unique and rewarding (though you would be right to point out that it takes a certain amount of patience to get through it).
I’ll cut the review short there. After all, I don’t think most of our visitors are here to read. You’re probably here to listen. I can simply end it by saying, with confidence, that after their sophomore release, Foals remain one of my favorite bands.