Foals – Holy Fire
With Total Life Forever, Foals rejected genre associations like nu-rave and dance-punk by upping the emotional stakes and working ambiance into their blueprint. The general consensus was an old cliché, but it was true nonetheless: they had matured and grown as a band. Nearly three years in the making, this follow-up doesn't present audiences with the same kind of leap; it's more a nuanced sharpening of their abilities.
There's plenty of the tuneful, almost oriental guitar playing here which is instantly characteristic of Foals; Bad Habit and Everytime both demonstrate the kind of melodic-yet-solemn qualities they've been brandishing in recent times, whereas fiery lead single Inhaler and the funk-laden My Number showcase their more playful side. Whether he's crooning over sparse atmospherics (Stepson, Moon) or explosive multi-instrumental freakouts (Late Night, Providence), vocalist Yannis Philippakis sounds more confident and iconic now than ever before. His band does, too.