Stop press: news of Foals’ much-vaunted new rocking-their-balls-clean-off direction may have been premature. For all frontman Yannis Philippakis’ proclamations that new album ‘What Went Down’ will be be louder than war, this second snippet – and the album’s “epic closing track” – suggests it’ll be stormier than the rowdy Barents Sea too.
“Mouth of the ocean, be well-spoken,” Yannis yowls, setting an elemental theme where “the fire is coming, we’ll outrun it” and “the things we once believed” are “all lost to the depths of a hungry sea”. His band dutifully go about making their instruments sound like a gargantuan seafaring craft full of adventuring shoegazers, out to colonise entire undiscovered sonic continents. Drummer Jack Bevan builds a sturdy ark of beats against which Foals fling synths like storm swells, intricate guitar froth and an over-riding two-note riff that resembles nothing more than an iron hull yawning as it buckles. If Moby-Dick had fronted the early Verve, this might’ve been their biggest hit.
For those whose top-knots were set a-quiver by the black metallic charge of ‘What Went Down’, here’s proof that the power, poetry and delicacy of ‘Holy Fire’ still thrives. Hey, at one point Yannis even rhymes “unstitch the suture” with “please pause the future”. Sublime.