Foals / Total Life Forever - SP875
In April of 2008, we at Sub Pop Records had the good fortune to release the US version of Antidotes, the debut album by Oxford, UK quintet Foals. Antidotes was a special album. Two years on from that impressive introduction, a choice has been made–-rather than contort Antidotes’ lithesome guitars into ever more elaborate patterns, Total Life Forever is the sound of a band settling into and surveying the decay of old protocols. With this new album, Foals strip their sound back and turn themselves inside out searching for that invisible human thing. The result is an album as persuasive emotionally as Antidotes was physically. Whereas that album constantly reinforced its own presence by filling the air with yelping and polyrhythm, tracks on Total Life Forever such as disarming opener “Blue Blood,” “2 Trees” and the astonishing “Black Gold” are happier to leave gaps for the listener to explore in mind’s ear and eye. Written primarily in the basement of their Oxford HQ (“The House of Supreme Mathematics”) and recorded in Gothenburg with former Clor man Luke Smith, Total Life Forever finds Foals singing rather than shouting, emotional as well as functional. The band’s soul-search reveals new antidotes found in infinite, internal spaces rather than carved violently upon the air–-Total Life Forever feels more the work of artists than artisans. It’s a triumph that they’ve managed to remain a band of progress and propulsion while investigating that vast, dark space lurking inside themselves-–that gap between ribs where “nature, or god or whatever you wanna call it, will come in.”
Black vinyl is the only color still available for this release.
Released: June 15, 2010
Foals are a five-piece dance-rock band currently living in and native to the town of Oxford, England. Completing the circuit between the minimalism of American composer Steve Reich, guitars that sound like insects and tennis player Andy Roddick, theirs is a uniquely winning formula. Driving percussion high in the mix, guitars played above the 12th fret, no chords, splashes of synth color all come together like the schematics for a piece of precision engineering. And there’s something strange about those guitars. “They’re meant to sound like insects,” offers singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis, “like a cloud of insects forming these strange harmonies.”
Last June, Foals traveled to Brooklyn, NY to record Antidotes, with TV on the Radio guitarist and producer (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars) David Sitek. Recording took five weeks. The horn section from afrobeat band Antibalas played on five tracks and Celebration’s Katrina Ford sang on another. Lauded variously as “Shitpipe midget guitar strap bullshit,” “Snotty art school dropouts hungry for the dollar,” and one of the new bands that will define 2008 (by NME), Antidotes is the debut album by Foals.
“Hummer” and “Mathletics” (tracks 12 and 13) are bonus tracks for Sub Pop’s US release and were previously available on UK 7" singles.
Released: April 8, 2008