When Tom named Pissed Jeans’ Honeys Album Of The Week, commenter Robert Wohner implored us to not overlook Foals, who also released a new album last week: their third full-length, Holy Fire. I told Robert that I’d never been able to connect with Foals in the past, but based on his enthusiasm, I’d give them another chance, and cover them on Stereogum if they caught me this time around. I’m not sure writing about a remix of Holy Fire’s second single qualifies as coverage, but it’s a chance for me to share my thoughts.
I should mention first off that if you’re looking for someone at Stereogum who is especially apt to fall for bands that are insanely massive in the UK but total unknowns here, I’m your man. We’ll go into detail on this subject next week, when I premiere a Biffy Clyro track on the site (not joking), but let it just be said that this is my beat. I’m predisposed to liking Foals, and honestly? Listening to the new album, I found myself liking Foals! It peaks, for me, with tracks 3 and 4 — the first of those being “My Number,” which has been remixed here by Hot Chip. The original has a Scissor Sisters-esque disco groove; Hot Chip gives the song an airier, synthier feel, spacing out the rhythmic climaxes that appear with almost military consistency in the original.
Now just a couple more observations from me on Foals, in general (although they’re gleaned only from Holy Fire): So I like them and I can definitely see why other people like them, but I’m not sure yet why people love them. I find Holy Fire to be a masterfully constructed collection (or, I guess, a collection of masterfully constructed songs), but it seems kind of emotionally and psychologically distant: intentionally vague, maybe, or just polished to such a gorgeous sheen that some human elements have been worn away, too. Musically, it kind of exists in a sweet spot between Coldplay and Bloc Party, two other bands who are not so great at things like revelation or connection, but are super-skilled at just making amazing sounds, and from there, making songs that sound amazing.
Naturally some of this comes from me jumping in at LP3 without understanding Foals’ evolution, so I gotta go back to LPs 1 and 2 for some context. I will do that. And I’ll continue to cover the band here, too. Check out the Hot Chip remix of “My Number” below, and below that, the original.