This is it. This is the one. I know you tell your friends about new bands all the time and hope they’ll connect with them the same way you do, right? Ah, who am I kidding; I know I hope they just take five seconds to go to GrooveShark and give them a listen. . . .
That should all change with Holy Fire by Foals. This one they’ll listen to, this one they’ll like, and this one they may even go that extra step beyond and plunk some cash down to buy it! In fact, if you want to jump to the end of this review and find the description I’ve crafted for you on how you can convince them, well, I can’t stop you, but I probably could’ve at least not mentioned I was going to do that. . . .
Still here? Good.
Let’s talk about Jono Ma for a moment. Jono plays guitar and keyboards for Australia’s Lost Valentinos and produced Holy Fire for the Foals. He was responsible for bringing a new level to their music by adding loops, synthesizers, and drum machines to provide a sound that Foal’s lead singer Yannis Philippakis described as “swampy”, saying “some of the grooves are quite stinky.”
For me, I haven’t been pulled in by an instrumental prelude (the opening song is appropriately called ‘Prelude’) since Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Kubrick showed everyone how a movie should begin with 2001! Foal’s ‘Prelude’ is a band creating a heavy coat of atmosphere so thick your shirt will get damp just listening to it, and I know you won’t know what you’re in for (Hint: it’s awesomeness).
All you can do is breathe it in (with their next track, appropriately called ‘Inhaler’). This song slides so well between a crazy disco groove to a bumping funk beat to a raging rock edge that it’s literally astounding how seamlessly they bring you to all these wonderfully different musical lands. After this five minute track, I was ready to either say, “Okay, okay, I’ve had enough, I surrender, I’ve had my money’s worth,” or alternatively, demand that it never stop!
This album’s got my number. Luckily, the next track, appropriately called ‘My Number’, shows yet another side to Foals. With a Brit-pop, energetic feel, and a nice crescendo of melody and harmonies, it will be hard to resist doing some sweet white-man overbite dance moves, or preferably some good dancing if you know what you’re doing.
I’m not going to go through every track even though the next one is appropriately called ‘Everytime’. I will say I found myself moving around my house while listening to this one, and was equal parts stunned and powerless when I found my butt spinning around in small circles a la Cameron Diaz in Charlie’s Angels.
So far, each song on Holy Fire has brought a different, rich sound really showing off the band’s prowess. I’ve already well-researched their concert appearances and will full well look to see how they pull this off in person. Tracks like ‘Late Night’ and ‘Milk & Black Spiders’ slow the pace down a little to let you settle in and reflect since you’re probably out of breath from dancing around your living room by now, but don’t get too comfy!
When they finally close out with ‘Moon’, a gentle, yet bold ode to the fierce energy they’ve created throughout the album, well, by this time you know you’ve just listened to something special.
So special, that if you tell your friends, “This album is in my Top 5 of 2013. It has a heart of funk, and a body of pure indie rock. If you’re sitting down, you’ll tap your toes and bop your head. If you’re alone at home, you’ll be dancing before you know it. But most importantly, think about the best album of your favourite band. Now go put this one beside it.”