Foals - Antidotes
Marcus Warner 24/03/2008
When I became aware of Foals, it was through the written word of the Observer Music Monthly, also a radio interview where they gave the current crop of indie bands both barrels. Both mediums made clear that Foals were intelligent, at times belligerent and certainly able to produce good copy (Morrissey has always been able to do this even when his music hasn't, which is why journalists are always willing to interview him). This gave me, for better or for worse an initial expectation of Foals' music before even I had heard a note.
The two singles I heard 'Matheletics' and 'Balloons' whetted my appetite, and I must admit I was hugely impressed. Angular funky indie with subtle interspersing of other genre, this was a band destined to make indie music intelligent again after have to put up with the Pigeon Detectives.
People will often tell you to construct your article/review/press release in a pyramid format, start narrow (the first paragraph should sum up the whole piece) and work outwards. Such a format seems to suit Foals approach to music, they are essentially and indie band with nods to Q and not U and even Gang of Four but in truth they offer more than this suggests. So the 'indie band' template is expanded in 'Antidotes', jazzy brass underpins the skin tight, funky percussion. Nagging guitar riffs are treated with care, never straying into the forefront, the bass is insistent driving the band with aplomb.
Make no mistake, this is a great album but what could potentially be a great band- standout tracks pepper the album- the french open, balloons (which welsh readers will recognise how much this sounds like Jarcrew) and Olympic Airwaves. The only qualification is that sometimes the vocals offer very similar fayre, and sometimes Foals myopic insistence on being intellectual squeezes any human touch from certain tracks. I haven't heard a better debut for a long time, this album will appeal to those too cool to read NME and those stupid enough to only read NME.
Release date: 24/03/2008