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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 February 2013
A fine body of work that connects more immediately than on previous albums but still has the strength in depth to reward you further on repeated listens. Foals trademark hooks and querky beats are still very evident but this time around they seem more effortlessly achieved. I've been playing it everyday since the day of its release...and they say albums aren't what they used to be!
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It is third album in for Oxford band Foals and the bid for major league status begins here with an album which according to the band "kills their inner Woody Allen" (whatever that means!). "Holy Fire" is clearly aimed at smoothing the more spiky edges of the band and is easily their most coherent and cohesive album to date. With top producers Flood & Moulder at the helm the weight of their previous experience is brought to bear and the influence detectives will detect snatches of their work with Smashing Pumpkins, PJ Harvey, Nine Inch Nails, and The Killers. Their presence has undoubtedly hardened the bands sound, made it bigger and pushed it into a place which takes the Foals vehicle screaming away from the label marked "indie". As a result some may find "Holy Fire" a bit too much like standard rock while others may hark back with fondness to the indie danceability of "Antidotes". Others may alternatively heave a quiet sigh of relief and point out that for every excellent song on previous albums there were also infuriating examples of the "far too clever for their own good" syndrome.

Perhaps the most clear example of the "new" Foals is the single "My Number". This is pure and simple cystral clear brilliant pop music which you can dance to and which could top the charts across Europe with sustained airplay. It is a belter and will entrall festival goers splattered in Glastonbury mud. The same also applies to "Inhaler; this is a twisted bible black nasty funk song the sort that the great American band "Living Colour" used to roll out on production lines, come to think of it there is also a faint nod to Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer". Two minutes into the song the bands dominant force Yannis Philippakis screams out "I can get no space" and in comes the huge Zeppelin power chords to knock you off the kitchen stool. Its a snarling beast of a song and will undoubtedly raise the quantum of noise complaints to environmental health departments across local government. Things calm considerably for "Bad Habit" which is a fulsome song with an aching melody and a slippery grove brilliantly executed by the band. The three years that have been spent making this album has filled it with a huge dose of confidence and lyrically it is a different division to its predecessors. One of the other standout tracks is "Late night" which refindorces the latter point. This is a thrilling heavyweight rock song, a sort of distant cousin of the feel achieved on "Spanish Sahara" but underpinned by a muscular backdrop which could easily grace a TV on the Radio album. The passage of time will probably see it become recognised as one of their greatest songs. Much funkier is "Out of the Woods" with a great Philippakis vocal, while the joyous electronica of "Milk & Black Spiders" glides effortlessly towards the albums conclusion. The whole thing is rounded off by punchy rock of "Providence" and then the concluding "Moon" takes the album into a different realm ending it on a beautifully sombre note and showing that Foals have drawn some lessons from their Oxford forebears Radiohead.

"Holy Fire" probably does mark the transition from indie to a bigger more mainstream sound for Foals. But collectively it is an album for the band to be very proud of. It shows that the musical unit comprising Philippakis and fellow band members Jack Bevan, Walter Gervers, Edwin Congreave and Jimmy Smith are knitting together like plain and purl, in turn producing some of the finest British music on offer today. This is album is so good that its inevitable that the predictably irrelevant Barclaycard Mercury Prize is bound to pass it over. Don't make the same mistake.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 May 2013
God, I love Foals. I was so lucky getting to know them during those early stages when they had no albums, but, when something amazing comes to life, you get that realisation, the shiver down your spine, that you are witnessing something magnificent. And then there was "Antodites" and then there was "Total Life Forever" (still not really sure about that one), and then this - "Holy Fire" - Foals lived up to all the expectations! They are now kings in their own musical rights, and I guess they will have nothing else to prove, but they will never stop experimenting. The album is addictive. Along with their other albums, the songs constantly pop up within my 25 most listened tracks. I just simply cannot stop listening to it.

This is beautiful music. Beautiful songs that caught you unguarged, tracks that make you sad and than tracks that make you want to dance (ah, those guitar patterns!), so desperately; incredible noise, the album is changing and gripping and evolving, so much is happening within an hour's space.

If you haven't bought this yet, stop hesitating, it is really worth every penny! The album is contemporary music of the utmost quality. Perfect from start to finish, there is no song you want to skip (and how many albums can boast that?). I gave up and gave in and bought copies for my friends.

Go see them live. BUY THE ALBUM. Go see them live again. You have to see them live for the full effect. And you thought the album was just good!
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on 10 November 2015
Brilliant album. I only found it by chance when I was listening to an album on YouTube. After that had finished this album started playing. I thought "this is good". I have been listening to it ever since.
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on 13 February 2015
A little too indy. The album ahs very clear highs (My Number, Inhaler). But I found that after listening to this just a couple of times I couldn't stand Yannis Philipakkis' (the lead singer) voice. Still, nice music and some class tunes on it.
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on 20 February 2013
Flood & Moulder's production shines through yet that's to the detriment of the band's own sound I'm afraid. Somewhere in the mix is the songwriting and sound that made Foals themselves but what totally dominates is Flood's production which is lovely yes, but somewhat soulless since we've heard it all before many times over. Further, whoever did the CD mastering has stonewalled it to the point that it is almost clipping. Of course Foals will sell millions of copies of this album and fill stadiums on the back of it. Job done. Commercial MOR rock at its most easy to consume ... and instantly forget.
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on 15 February 2013
I know that Foals have been around for a while and they were half decent but suddenly with this album they have come fully into view. This is a proper fully formed album, well filled out with strong singles and other interesting tracks and diversions. It's surprisingly musical, vocally expressive, and the tunes are positive, driven and pretty darn groovy in places. Well impressed.
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on 29 April 2013
This is the first Foals album I have bought, I actually found them by accident and I'm quite glad I have, this is the best album I've heard this year and it's never off, I play it in the car and I sometimes bring it in to the house and play it again. theres not many albums that I can just put on and listen to from start to finish. From the heavier 'inhaler' to the mellower 'bad habit' and 'late night', every tune is a classic. Who says its all been done before, get the foals, change your life!
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on 14 February 2013
Fantastic album. Started following the Foals a couple of years ago after going to a gig, and loved them since. Recently saw them where they played a few songs from this album, and immediately knew i had to get it. Best album tracks are Late Night and Providence. if you listen to My Number, make sure you have your speakers / headphones turned up to as loud as they possibly go. I'd recommend this album to anyone who has the ability to listen, and likes music.
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on 18 March 2013
Great album from a fantastic band. I will not review it track by track, but try Inhaler for a start. Foals are like no other band, each track builds up to a crescendo of incredible noise. Best album of the year so far. Play the album as loud as possible, turn the volume right up.
By the way if you get chance, go and see Foals, they are actually much better live - a real class act.
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