Foals: Total Life Forever
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I came upon the debut album by Foals in a strange way. It was about two in the morning and I was channel surfing with my little sister. We stumbled upon the music video for their song "Olympic Airways" and we were suitably impressed. I jotted the name of the band down, determined to check them out in the morning and expecting to be disappointed once I heard them while awake and fully cognizant.
I wasn't. Instead, Antidotes was one of the single best albums to come out in 2008, a poppy, guitar driven math rock record filled with silly lyrics and catchy melodies. Even the slower songs had a sense of seething intensity that boiled just under the surface, ready to erupt and any time.
With a debut like that, it's obvious that I was very excited about the follow up.
Regrettably, it was a useless excitement - a buildup to the release of an album that is disappointing at best, infuriatingly aimless at worst. All of the speed and zest of their first disc is gone - replaced with laid-back beats, lazy guitar work, unimpressive vocals, and completely forgettable melodies. There is no interplay between instruments, no inventive rhythms, and everything just feels so wasted.
Seriously, I haven't been so disappointed in an album in years. The first was so impressive, they'd set the bar so high I figured there would be no way they would overtake it - but I didn't expect something that, to put it bluntly, sucks so very, very much.
Final verdict: Ignore it
It pains me to say it. I've been preaching the Foals gospel for over a year now, and this sophomore effort is a colossal mess. There are maybe one or two songs that have a shade of the genius of their first disc, but the vast majority are a filler waste of space. Avoid it - just go listen to Antidotes and pretend that this album doesn't exist.