With influences ranging from minimalist composer Steve Reich and tennis legend Andy Roddick to pop diva Gwen Stefani, it’s not surprising that Foals’ debut album defies expectation and pushes the boundaries of indie.
Franz Ferdinand’s manifesto was music for girls to dance to – four years later, following pleasant encounters with Bloc Party and Klaxons, Foals have upped the ante with technical, multi-faceted tracks whose aim is to getting their fans’ asses shaking.
The Oxford five piece courted controversy over leaving fan favourites -Hummer’, -Mathletics’ and -Astronauts and All’ off the album to create space for new tracks. However, it’s not entirely surprising that -Hummer’, in particular, was kept out of the party. The jangly, instantly catchy rhythm and singalong chorus which made that song such an indie club favourite are somewhat muted on Antidotes.
While the songs still have a punchy, dancefloor-friendly melody, they are filled out with complex guitar lines and frenetic vocals. Think Battles or Dublin post rock heroes Redneck Manifesto and The Jimmy Cake with a vocalist that sounds like he’s lost in speed-freak delirium.
Where it works, it’s glorious: -The French Open’, superb new single -Cassius’, -Balloons’, -Red Shoes Pugle’. Where it doesn’t (-Two Steps, Twice’, -Tron’) the results can be at worst headache-inducing, at best, dreary. Coming in at three seconds short of the two-minute mark, the half-finished -Like Swimming’ is just plain pointless.
Even if nothing on Antidotes matches the instant thrill of -Hummer’, Antidotes should provide the perfect poison for those tickled by Foals’ experimental, difficult and arguably more forward-thinking side.
Buy from Amazon.