Foals – Holy Fire


Holy Fire showcase a band that’s matured into a potentially arena filling rock band. The album shows Foals in their darkest mood yet, but with a sense of melodic construction largely unheard on previous albums. They’ve grown into a band with the ability to master a diverse set of rock aesthetics. The mostly instrumental album opener “Prelude” sets the tone with an unsettling subtle atmosphere, more in common with Interpol’s “Untitled” than with anything in their own back-catalogue.

“Prelude” quickly turns into the album highlight “Inhaler”, a masterful rock banger with a claustrophobic build-up leading up to a sudden and massive guitar-riff drop – Foals career-high accomplishment that transforms them into the crowd-pleasing arena-rockers I suspect they always wanted to become.

The albums third song is the forgoing single “My Number” – an infuriatingly catchy tune with a pumping funky rhythm-section, echoing Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place”. So far, the three opening tracks on the album have provided a complete show-off in versatility, kicking of the album in a merciless manner. Not everything continues in the same impressive paste; the following two tracks don’t add anything, more than to provide the means of transportation to the next album highlight, the lovely “Late Night”. A song full with despair and confessional elements explores a profound and sublime side of Foals, starting slow but leading up to an ecstatic climax. The rest of the album remains an uneven work, mixing faceless slow-burners with rewarding rock stumpers like “Providence” and the eclectic “Milk & Black Spider”. All in all it’s an ambitious record split evenly between highly artistic accomplishments and couple of less rewarding fillers.

Admittedly, Foals never were a favorite of mine. They fell in the wide category of British indie-rock bands trying to relieve the hey-days of the UK guitar-rock, without the subtleties and quality of actually doing so. However, Foals talent was always eminent and while the two preceding albums never fulfilled their potential, Holy Fire shows a completely new side of Foals, transforming them to one of the most interesting headliners of the upcoming festival period.

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