Total Life Forever (Sub Pop / Warner Bros. / Transgressive)

ACL Music Fest Sunday Review


Total Life Forever (Sub Pop/Warner Bros./Transgressive)

Even before hyperbolic 2008 debut Antidotes, Foals, on breakaway singles "Hummer" and "Mathletics," had already mapped out its signature sound: clipped, skittering guitar lines, throttling post-punk bass, and brash bursts of percussion synched with Yannis Philippakis' blunt, repetitive vocals. The Oxford, England, quintet's dedication to its glossy, 21st century condensing of British art-rock subsequently led to a well-documented clash with producer Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio over his mix of Antidotes. Foals' major label debut, Total Life Forever, keeps those elements intact, most notably on the title track and in the calculated urgency and cold sweat of "After Glow," but the band has redesigned the template to include a more expansive pop approach evinced by sprawling centerpiece "Spanish Sahara." That's thanks to Philippakis, who sings with the romanticized melodrama of Disintegration-era Cure, an obvious reference point for "Miami," while "This Orient" finds him yearning for and ultimately achieving "this Western feeling." (1:15pm, Honda stage)


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