Ah the eagerly awaited follow-up to the highly praised (by me - for sure!) debut "Antidotes", second album from young and vigorous Foals still pulsates with idealism and energy. Long before it came out I had it pre-ordered (one of a 1,000) and find the cover art alluringly eerie, and yet... This is my least favorite record from, perhaps, my preferred band (modern, nowadays).
I guess success went to their heads a bit. And Yannis Philippakis has his own demons. The second album, I have a feeling, proved rather hard. "Total Life Forever" gives off mixed signals: it's gloomy and moody and almost spooky, but then it is full of afro-pop, guitar riffs and heavy drumming, which is so familiar to me from Antidotes and so wonderful when listened to live (think festivals, think big and small arenas). The songs started to be meaningful, richer, more complex, this is not just a dance record. It is not a dance record at all.
No matter what (and I am writing this review after the release of their third album), Foals are wonderful and a very promising quintet. I love them. And I could go on and analyse each and every song from the album (title track - ah the bass!, "Spanish Sahara" - post-apocalyptic meditation with bashful ending, "This Orient" - energetically punk-y and robust, "Alabaster" ah just so beautiful etc.).
While "Total Life Forever" is more thoughtful, deeper, full of emotions, something is just not right. It's off-balance, it leaves me wondering every time I listen to it, it's not rounded, not complete. Or so I think.