English rock band Foals have just been named as another huge act to perform at Reading and Leeds festival this year and it’s pretty clear to see why they are in such hot demand. Already with two albums under their belt they are now back three years later with the hat trick, Holy Fire.
From Oxford and formed by lead singer and guitarist Andrew Mears originally, the band has been through some changes. Mears left soon after their debut single “Try this on your piano” was released to concentrate on his band Youthmovies debut album.
Undefeated, the long-term friends now have Yannis Philippakis – Foals is actually a play on the etymology of Philippakis’ name – on lead vocals and guitar. Along with guitarist Jimmy Smith, backing vocalist Walter Gervers, Edwin Congreave on keyboard and drummer Jack Bevan.
The self-sufficiency of the band is admirable. All of Foals music videos are created by friend of the band Dave Ma and another friend Tinhead has created all the artwork (excluding the second album, Total Life Forever cover). The closeness of Foals members and outsiders is partly due to them being in or with this same band for such a long time, they formed the group way back in 2005.
Their sound now rivals that of The Maccabees, eerily subdued with punchy outbursts to give the listener every different emotion. The first single from the album was Inhaler, released back in November last year. The song begins with the strong guitar and wooden blocks being tapped, the lyrics “Sticks and Stones break my bones” may be a tad cliché but the sound is so significant and special you won’t even care.
The similarity to The Maccabees is there once more as the album starts with the track ‘Prelude.’ It is a no vocal, maraca shaking, guitar infused track, exactly what The Maccabees did with third album Given to the Wild. The whole record appears to have a summer vibe, tracks like My Number and Out of the Woods are exactly what festival goers are going to want to drink and party to.
But after all the fast paced songs the album ends with Moon, a sort of goodbye for listeners. The lyrics are understated, melancholic and meaningful “I see you crumble/ nothing left unsaid” a perfect ending to a triumph from Foals that will no doubt get them heard from some different audiences than before.
Holy Fire is out Monday 11th February.