Music Reviews

The latest albums reviewed and rated

Foals: Total Life Forever

Add a comment
Rating: 4/5

Verdict: Out with the annoying, in with the epic

Foals, Total Life Forever. Photo / Supplied
Foals, Total Life Forever. Photo / Supplied

This is the follow-up to the Oxford hip-shakers and knee-jerkers' accomplished but sometimes hard-going debut, Antidotes, from 2008. There's nothing awkward or obnoxious about Total Life Forever, with its cascading soundscape-like songs that unfold elegantly and effortlessly.

Spanish Sahara is a seven-minute song that starts out smouldering and fragile before it intensifies into a Chemical Brothers-meets-Coldplay mash-up and love-in. While that might not sound appealing, the bleeps and beats are as stirring as the Chemical Brothers' Song To the Siren, and Total Life Forever has the same epic swirl of Coldplay's last album. The difference is Foals have a darker post-punk intensity which gives them a more menacing edge.

On Miami, singer Yannis Philippakis comes across overwrought yet cute like The Cure's Robert Smith, Black Gold has a lush and trembling ambience while also recalling the camp glitch and groove of Human League's Dare-era tunes; and speaking of the 80s, the title track has some clean and clear vocals, chinking guitar, and tinkling keyboards, that's a throwback to something like ABC's Lexicon Of Love.

The first half of the album is faultless, but centrepiece This Orient reveals the first sign of obnoxiousness and cheesiness. The album falls back into line with the crisp industrial beats of Alabaster, and the primal flailing of What Remains. But it's Spanish Sahara that's the gem here.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2015, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 10 Oct 2015 13:37:07 Processing Time: 471ms