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Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1
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From playing chaotic house parties in their home city of Oxford to becoming major festival headliners across Europe, Foals’ trajectory has been remarkable. They’ve earned critical acclaim (NME and Q Award wins, plus Mercury Prize, Ivor Novello and BRIT Award nominations) and fan devotion (1.7 million sales of their four Gold-certified albums) in equal measure. And while the majority of contemporaries have fallen by the wayside, Foals continue to hit new peaks.
After more than a decade in the game, Foals again embrace that love for the unconventional with the bravest and most ambitious project of their career: not one, but two astonishing new albums: ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’. A pair of releases, separate but related, they share a title, themes and artwork. ‘Part 1’ will be released on March 8th, with ‘Part 2’ following later in the year.
“They’re two halves of the same locket,” frontman Yannis Philippakis explains. “They can be listened to and appreciated individually, but fundamentally, they are companion pieces.”
Fundamentally tethered but possessing their own personalities, the two bodies capture the most compelling, ambitious and cohesive creations they’ve ever produced. Eager to break the traditional pop song structure which they felt they were becoming increasingly tapered to, the 20 tracks defy expectation. There are exploratory, progressive-tinged tracks alongside atmospheric segues which make the music an experience rather than a mere collection of songs. Yet the band’s renowned ability to wield relentless grooves with striking power and skyscraper hooks also reaches new heights.
The album’s lead single ‘Exits’ is a case in point, featuring Philippakis conjuring the image of a disorienting world via a contagious vocal melody. It’s a fresh anthem for Foals’ formidable arsenal, but also an ominous forecast.
“There's a definite idea about the world being no longer habitable in the way that it was,” says Yannis. “A kind of perilousness lack of predictability and a feeling of being overwhelmed by the magnitudes of the problems we face. What's the response? And what’s the purpose of any response that one individual can have?”
‘Exits’ signposts what to expect thematically from both instalments of ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’. The title is a warning that anything – from the tiniest fleeting moment of inspiration through to the planet’s own biological diversity – can be under threat of being irrevocably erased.
It’s a theme that permeates throughout the album’s material, as Foal mirror the public neuroses that have been provoked by our current cultural climate. Paranoia of state surveillance? Fear of environmental collapse? Anxiety over Trump’s next potentially cataclysmic move? It’s all there in these apocalyptic songs.
“Lyrically, there are resonances with what's going on in the world at the moment,” summarises Yannis. “I just feel like, what’s the utility of being a musician these days, if you can’t engage with at least some of this stuff? These songs are white flags, or they’re SOSs, or they’re cries for help… each in a different way.”
The new albums’ journeys began as the ‘What Went Down’ era ended. Founding bassist Walter Gervers departed on amicable terms after playing the Festival Paredes de Coura in Portugal in August 2017. Foals felt that he couldn’t be replaced – a decision that ushered in a period of recalibration, reorganisation and, ultimately, rejuvenation.
After taking a little time out, Foals – completed by Jimmy Smith (guitar), Jack Bevan (drums) and Edwin Congreave (keys) reconvened – with Yannis on production duties, who, together with Edwin, also covered the bass parts. They began by writing in a rehearsal space before exporting those sketches into the recording phase at 123 Studios, Peckham, with the assistance of engineer Brett Shaw. They’d repeat the cycle between the two spaces, effectively creating an ongoing feedback loop as they sought to push every new idea to the finish line.
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Sorry, but I need to repeat..
When I was a younger fella, I used to buy new pink floyd albums , and each one, on first listen I would always think they were much worse than the first one I heard. But I knew they would need a good many listens before I could judge them... True enough, I was rewarded with some wonderful musical experiences for my perseverance.
My belief is that we expect too much too immediately these days. The new Foals album is no exception. It only came out today and "one star" assigned it to the bin already. Incredible short sightedness...their loss.
I am lured in every time to Foals by the first track...in this case Exits. On the luna wasn't so good first listen, but then I had to play it over, and then I rejected Sunday initially as it was ponderous. But like each new Foals album, they keep creeping up on you so that each time you start to favour a different track till you end up liking the whole album.
What a treat!
Enjoy repeated listening!