With Foal’s newest release, Holy Fire, the British indie rockers have succeeded in producing a multitude of tracks that emphasize their unique sounds. Although it does not quite reach the sheer magnitude of their masterpiece “Spanish Sahara” from their previous album Total Life Forever, they have still created a fantastic arrangement of tracks. Altogether, Foals have begun to create a darker atmosphere with their music, quite different from the unencumbered productions they’ve made in the past.
The album opens with “Prelude,” a melange of rock percussion and gritty but ethereal lyricism. The second track and single “Inhaler” drives catchy beats towards a climax of lead singer Yannis Philippakis’ yearning call for “space.” The most anthemic track is certainly “My Number”—frustratingly catchy and difficult to stop listening to. “Bad Habit” provides a little bit of contrast with the rest of the album, as it’s more electronic in nature. It also features some of Philippakis’ more emotionally vulnerable performances. “Milk & Black Spiders” may have an enigmatic title, but it’s a straightforward expression of commitment for a person. The album comes to a close with “Moon” which seems to be similar in format to the band’s hit song “Spanish Sahara.” It sedately winds down without some of the edginess that characterizes the rest of Holy Fire.
Foals have clearly demonstrated their growth as a group. They’ve incorporated new inspirations and experiences to create an impressive third album. Philippakis noted that some of the band’s inspirations are “voodoo, the swamp, sexuality, byzantine iconography, and music … the decline of the bee populations, hip hop, and stoner rock”—and they’ve certainly amalgamated these elements into something admirable.