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4.5 out of 5 stars
Total Life Forever
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2013
Its albums like Foals 'Total Life Forever' that make me pleased that musical evolution happens. Total Life Forever is such a big change its like a new band. Gone are the fresh faced dance punks, replaced by arty post rockers. Frontman Yannis no longer uses the high yelp, instead his voice echos away like someone lost at sea. Structurally the songs are better, the instrumentation is stronger, the lyrics are vividly beautiful and all the songs fit together brilliantly.

Opener 'Blue Blood' is the perfect mix of old and new. It has the bouncy rhythm and playful guitars, while still being very atmospheric with Yannis' brooding vocals. These two styles mix frequently on the album to great effect, adding so much versatility. 'Miami' is reminiscent of Talking Heads and has a wonderful beat, while single 'This Orient' is in a similar vain and has beautiful lyrics. The title track is another great catchy tune, where as songs like 'Alabaster', the eerie '2 Trees' and closer 'What Remains' are built around soft dreamy atmospheres.

However, its when Foals experiment that we get the album high points. The three songs over 6 minutes are the best. 'Black Gold' has excellent fun verses, an amazing dreamy chorus and a fantastic climax. The hit 'Spanish Sahara' starts off quietly, constantly building and creating a tense atmosphere. It suddenly comes into life with one of the best climax's in recent memory. While 'After Glow' is probably my favorite song here. It has a great sensual beat and a dreamy chorus, with some powerful vocals. Out of nowhere it goes into meltdown as the band have a psychedelic rock out with guitars screeching and drum rolls galore, its one of the most exhilarating pieces of music I've heard.

So Foals changed and really hit the mark. Everything is superb, from the song structures to instrument playing to lyrics. Total Life Forever is easily one of the strongest albums of the last few years.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2010
A fantastic Album and nowhere near as much a departure as some people have been saying.
Its not hummer, cassius or balloons but electric bloom and Olympic airways definitely pointed in this direction.

Blue blood is a fantastic opener, spanish sahara a beautiful song and the absolute right choice as a first single/video whatever it was.
After glow, black gold and what remains are songs that brings a kind of emotional depth that is usually, if not lacking then certainly only cryptically hinted at in foals songs. In fact a lot of the songs bring the technical ability, stylings and song writing of antidotes but imbue them with an emotional gravitas that they were only beginning to hint at on their début.

For me personally this album solidifies what made me like antidotes in the first place and dismisses that niggling doubt I had that they were in fact just another NME hyped band not really worth their salt.

I always think its a great sign if your least favourite song on an album is the lead single. Cassius became my least played on antidotes and this orient is following the same way. Not that either is a bad song I just prefer the full album experience and usually the lead single is a stand alone entity for commercial or whatever reasons and that isolation makes it divorced from the album, and this is a proper, well put together album not just a collection of glitchy pop rock songs, which is why this orient sounds more impressive on the radio than on my ipod.

So, a progression? definitely, a complete change of direction? I don't think so. Glad I bought it? Hell yes. Would I recommend it? Of course.

Enjoy.
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on 30 January 2011
Total Life Forever is a different beast to Antidotes. It's not the same twitchy, jumpy sound that made the band's debut stand out from the crowd. There's no denying that TFN takes the band down a much different route. But, all of this change is for the better. The sounds on TFN are so much more calm and mellow, so much more delicate and chilled. Opening track "Blue Blood" is a great example of this. Starting slow and quiet before building and spiralling into a fantastic and explosive cresendo, the vocals soaring and plunging, very much unlike tracks like "Balloons" and "Cassius" from the band's debut record.

The second track "Miami" and sixth track "This Orient" is as close as the album comes to dance/pop with catchy riffs and a bouncy head-bopping rhythm. The title track "Total Life Forever" achieves similar ideals as well.

For me the stand-out track by far is "Spanish Sahara", the albums fifth track, and zenith. Mirroring the album art's waterey theme, this song starts calm and quiet to the sound of waves, before the drums slowly build into an intense and eargasmic summit with vocalist Yannis Philippakis roaring "I'm the fury in your bed, I'm the ghost in the back of your head". It's little wonder why NME named this song thier No.1 track for 2010.

Other tracks that make the are true standouts are "Black Gold", "After Glow" and "Alabaster". They are all very beautiful and mellow pieces of music that immerse you into the album. This is music to chill out to, definetly not the high energy and frentic pace of Antidotes.

"Total Life Forever" is fully deserving of the praise and accolades it's recieving from sites like NME as it sits along side other heavyweights like Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" and The National's "High Violet" as one of the best albums of 2010. It showcases a band totally in their element and a band that are learning how to grow and progress. Would I recommend it to anyone? Definetly. This one's a keeper.
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on 22 October 2010
I'm a big fan of the first Foals album "Antidotes", in fact it's in my top 20 indie albums list. I'm certainly not going to slag this follow-up off, it's a decent effort and a pretty enjoyable album; there's nothing here to make me think that Foals have lost steam or anything; it just isn't as good as their first album. So, that said, let's review:

How does it sound? Quite different to their first album really; the first thing I noticed is that it's much more subdued, sounding very shoegaze/post-rocky in places (not that this is a bad thing, just different). A minor gripe I had is that the tone never really seems to change much throughout the album; all mellow and subdued with none of the lively energy from the first album. Aside from that, the instrumentation doesn't seem as varied, mostly relying on reverbing guitars and spaceous echoes to create mood.

Vocals? Very much like the first album but, again as with the music, more mellow. There's not much to say about the vocals here really, they sound quite nice and fit the music but they didn't blow me away.

Lyrics? More of the same from the first album really; alot of cryptic imagery with the occasional, more obvious, more catchy line. Lyrics are personal taste as always, I enjoyed the lyrics on offer here as much as I did the first album.

Would I recommend it? Probably, to some people, but not everyone. I don't think that enjoying the first album means that you will enjoy this one since it is very different. And if you like lively jangly indie, or just don't really enjoy spaceous slow paced music you might do well to steer clear. That said, if you do like the aforementioned style there is plenty here that should be to your liking, albeit it ultimately a bit forgettable.

Dom x
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on 2 October 2010
Foals' New album nurses you, cradles you, soothes and coos from underwater. Total Life Forever It's like an old friend, one you only realised existed when you needed them most. Mostly overlooked, it isn't the flashy armadillo, the vulgar ballerina, the wisecracking porcelain backscratcher, it is the sultry thoughtful giant slouched in the corner, he has soft eyes and only speaks in clicks and whispers. Total Life Forever is the orchestrated marriage between organic and electronic. A harmony of contradictions, sometimes sounding dreamy and distant, at times sure of itself and tight but always sitting on the edge of falling apart. All the songs have an air of familiarity, as if they had been written before sometime in the future. Their sound still straddles between indie and dance, settling into neither camp comfortably. The punchy bass lines and the guitar riffs (which resemble complex mathematical equations) should clash, but instead they jive around each other much like a daddy long legs and a grasshopper would do if they each had been superglued to opposite ends of a cocktail stick and set free on the Total Wipeout obstacle course. As time passes the dance of the tortured insects grows evermore complicated but no less beautiful.
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on 29 October 2010
This record contains some of the best guitar I have ever heard. "Antidotes" was so good, it seemed unlikely that the band could do better, but delightfully they have. There's not such a raw edge to the music, it's a much more "produced" sound, but the interweaving of the guitars is just if not more brilliant. The emotional tone of the record is quite a lot darker than "Antidotes", and though there are some lighter songs, "Total Life Forever" is probably one to avoid when you're feeling a bit down.

But... the lyrics just haven't kept up with the brilliant music. In fact they are really disappointing and, for me at least, this gets in the way of listening to the music. Admittedly, the lyrics on "Antidotes" were not the strong point, but they were often cheerful and fun, even ridiculous sometimes ("An aviary for today!"). Darker lyrics have to be a lot stronger to work. And while there's are plenty of good themes behind the lyrics, the words themselves are not powerful enough to match the music.

So if the band ever read their own reviews, please don't ever stop making this wonderful guitar music! But do please work harder on the lyrics so they complement the music rather than getting in the way.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2010
With 'Total Life Forever' Foals have lit a slow-burning fuse. The rich crackle of gunpowder, the whiff of cordite. Don't expect the cheap and, let's be honest, slightly one-note thrills of 'Antidotes'. This is a different beast altogether. TLF is a definite song-cycle and works beautifully as such. The first four tracks are a brilliant, funky suite with the incessant yelps of old maturing into a strange mix of The Cure's Robert Smith and My Morning Jacket's Jim James. From here on in it gets even more interesting with elegant, elegiac tracks like 'Spanish Sahara' and the fantastic closing salvo of `2 Trees' and `What Remains'.
After a few listens the hooks really get under your skin and take root in your brain. The longevity of the album will be borne out in this new intuitive approach - it doesn't give up its goods easily and leaves behind the repetitive sound bites of `Antidotes' for a more searching set of lyrics and emotions. The second disc offers some interesting snapshots of the album's genesis. Hardly essential but welcome variations all the same adding further flesh to TLF's bones. It's exciting to imagine where Foals might go from here, this being the reason for four stars rather than five - the sky's the limit and you can feel all the band's arms reaching upwards.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2010
I walked out of a Foals gig at Newcastle about 15 months ago as I found them self indulgent on stage and totally the opposite of their 'Antidotes' album - the new release gave me the chance to see if they deserved a 'second chance'.
It also coincided with the chance to see them live @ Ncle Uni and on both counts I have to own up to being glad at offering them their 'redemption' - although Sahara & Orient are stand out tracks on both the CD and live it is all round a far better effort than their first album and certainly (for me) different enough to warrant some praise.
It is a more rounded album with a slightly different sound that makes it better listening as a full album than their first release - that, allied to a much better live performance shows a more mature approach.
Personally, I feel that if you liked the first one you will like this one but if you have heard neither try to catch a couple of downloads and take it from there - you may be pleasantly surprised!
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on 4 December 2012
Me and my best friend have always shared music, so when she came to me a few months ago and said she'd found one of the most transcendent songs she had ever heard, my hopes were high. When she played me 'Spanish Sahara' I wasn't disappointed, it was just as beautiful as I could have ever imagined. So for her birthday, I decided to get her 'Total Life Forever' on vinyl (we are both avid fans of our record players!) and I'm pleased to say, that she loved it and we sat down and listened to the whole album, which lived up to 'Spanish Sahara' and exceeded it in some ways.

The record was dispatched very quickly, but it took a while to come unfortunately. However, it was packed well, which prevented any damage. It was brand new with the cellophane and the sound quality is fantastic!

Really really happy with this product and I will purchase from Rarewaves again!
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on 5 November 2014
Overall a great album, appealing to a broad range of Indie Rock/Alternative lovers.

The main album feels a lot more mellow, serious and mature over the band's first album release.

So if you are into crazed dance punk and electro-rock this one will rather disappoint you, but blends perfect into a rainy day at working in front of your computer or while chilling at home.

The Bonus disc features cuts and (out)takes? from tracks featured in full length on the main album.
IMHO nothing special, no full length bonus tracks or remixes, but I really like that digipak cover, and at the price this album is selling second hand it's a no brainer to get it over the "regular version".!
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