Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1
The first part of Foals' comeback double album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 is a banger-laden statement of intent
How many double albums have actually been pulled off this century? Sure, Drake’s hegemonic Scorpion topped charts worldwide, while the likes of Arcade Fire and M83 may deserve a say in the matter. But you’d be hard pressed to count commercially and critically successful double albums, from the last 20 years at least, on two hands. In a time where leaner, 20-30 minute releases are all the rage, Foals have returned against the grain with a double-sided odyssey, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – to prove that more is more.
While there’s nothing quite as heart-wrenching as Spanish Sahara here, nor anything catchy enough to become the next My Number, Part 1 is a statement of intent. The ten-track rarely lets up its high-octane pulse, only for a sprinkling of more measured moments. Spine-tingling opener Moonlight is one of those. Led by a spidery guitar and eerie synth breaths, the track comes armed with the same throat-clenching emotional grip of the Oxfordshire band’s haunting 00s rarity A Song For You.
Bookended by the solid, yet fairly safe singles Exits and On the Luna, with a jittery guitar riff and full-bodied drum beat, White Onions is a full-steam-ahead slab of math rock fun – blending well into the tropical and bouncy In Degrees, which sounds like it could have washed up from Friendly Fires’ impending record. Sounding like two songs melded into one, Syrups then amounts to the first moment of real dynamism and surprise. A Gorillaz-esque bassline eventually evolves from funk-licked chillwave to something much more frenetic – 'So let’s get down in Oxfordshire', Yannis Philippakis croons, as the track nears its lightspeed crescendo. A similar formula is used later on Sunday, which sees three minutes of vanilla meanderings suddenly erupt into an Underworld-esque dancefloor frenzy, complete with pulsating bass notes and monotone vocals which could easily be mistaken as Karl Hyde’s doing.
But like all previous Foals works this is a cohesive dance-rock fusion, one not revolutionary enough to be labelled as a significant departure from their back catalogue, but with moments that see them enter new spaces. Cafe D'Athens, a return to melodic explorations off the back of meaty stadium-rock LP What Went Down, is one of those and a real highlight. Led by haunting xylophone jabs and ghostly high octave yelps, the record’s most avant-garde tangent sits closest to the work of fellow peers Dutch Uncles and Everything Everything.
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 can only really be contextualised upon the release of its final chapter – you get the feeling that the more explosive and direct tracks were prioritised here in time for the impending festival season. Expect Part 2 to be more introspective. But on its own merit, Part 1 is yet another banger-laden album, from an indie-rock machine who are now firmly established as one of the most consistent in their scene.
Listen to: Cafe D'Athens, Syrups, Moonlight