Total Life Forever

Foals

Transgressive Records, 2010

http://www.foals.co.uk

REVIEW BY: Peter Vissers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/20/2010

While some claimed the album lacked depth, Foals’ critically-acclaimed debut album Antidotes was a huge success in the global indie scene. Afro-pop influences, funk rhythms, and catchy guitar riffs gave them a distinctive sound that reminded me of Bloc Party, Klaxons, and even Talking Heads every now and then. Antidotes was an amazing album but quite hard to get used to. It’s one of those records you have to play over and over again before you start appreciating it (though a few tracks, for example “Balloons” and “Olympic Airways,” are great at the first listen).

my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Total Life Forever is different. Its songs are equally catchy, but Foals slightly adjusted their style on this release; they became more serious. The first minute of Total Life Forever sounds like Fleet Foxes, a high-pitched echoing voice accompanied by dreamy guitar. When the rest of the band kicks in, you instantly hear that recognizable Foals sound, and that’s not a bad thing. With its infectious guitar riffs and awesome chorus, “Blue Blood” is a great album opener. The second track, “Miami,” is heavily influenced by ‘80s disco pop but is driven by a big fat hip-hop beat. Total Life Forever continues to be funky and catchy throughout, but the fifth track, “Spanish Sahara,” is undoubtedly the album’s best song. The song’s first half is of unrivaled minimalistic beauty. It climaxes into a mesmerizing Animal Collective-like chorus. It sounds like nothing Foals have ever done before.

Every minute on this disc is interesting, even songs like “This Orient” that take a while to get used to. At the first listen I thought this cut was annoying, but after a few more listens it turns out to be quite fun and cheerful. “After Glow” starts off as a colorful ballad but eventually climaxes into an interestingly layered disco beat. After hearing the next few tracks, it became clear to me that the second half of Total Life Forever is filled with psychedelic sounds and hypnotizing rhythms. The album’s first few songs are potential hit singles and the rest is all about experimenting, which is great. “Alabaster” and “2 Trees” both are incredibly mellow ballads, of which “2 Trees” appealed to me most. The last cut, “What Remains,” isn’t really noteworthy, however. It sounds a bit too much like space-filling material to me.

Total Life Forever is a great sequel to Foals’ immensely successful debut album. I’m looking forward to their future releases.

Rating: B+

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