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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines


The alt-rock outfit finally return with the much-anticipated first instalment of a two-piece project. John Earls encounters a percussive return to form that looks back but only to go forward



The omens weren’t good. Companion albums rarely work – U2 eventually abandoned the sequel to career nadir No Line On The Horizon, while their energetic Songs Of Experience would surely have fared better without its associations to the iTunes-infiltrating Songs Of Innocence, released a full three years earlier. More usually, as with Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion I & II, there’s the suspicion that the band can’t be bothered working out what their best songs are and foist them all on the listener at double the price.

This could have been what happened to Foals. It’s been four years since What Went Down, which itself felt a placeholder album. Its title track was their greatest song, an indie disco juggernaut. But much of the rest was murky and claustrophobic, not quite advancing Foals to the guaranteed festival headliner status album four could expectedly have awarded them.

Thankfully, the time away has refreshed the Oxford band enough that, on this evidence, they really might have created enough good music for two disparate albums. Singer Yannis Philippakis has indicated the first part is a timely return to their dancier side, with the rock outings saved for Part 2 in the autumn. He’s certainly right that anyone who did the indie two-step to My Number will find plenty to cherish here.


While the songs seem to be set in a post-apocalyptic world of abandoned cities and climate change disasters, their groove offers a nihilistic escapism.

The six-minute Sunday starts as an epic phones-aloft ballad before switching without warning halfway through into a mighty techno banger where Philippakis channels Underworld’s Karl Hyde to babble shamanically about friends coming together. Syrups also builds from a stately grandeur into a percussive assault – drummer Jack Bevan is going to be exceptionally busy touring this album. Best of all is In Degrees, which may be five minutes long but feels short and brutal.

This doesn’t mean there’s no room for nuance. Part 1 is bookended by the atmospheric Moonlight and I’m Done With The World (& It’s Done With Me), with the tranquil Café D’Athens providing respite in between. It’s Foals’ first wholly self-produced album, but they co-produced their debut Antidotes with Dave Sitek and its restless mood somehow feels spiritually aligned with their early days.

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About Long Live Vinyl

Issue 25 of Long Live Vinyl comes with your free 40-page Official Record Store Day 2019 magazine, the complete guide to all 500+ releases to help you get ready for 13 April! It’s the only place you’ll find full details of every Record Store Day release, plus there’s the chance to win £50 of Record Tokens to give you a head start on the big day. Elsewhere in issue 25, we pay tribute to Neil Young, as his bandmates, producers and a host of musicians influenced by one of the world’s greatest songwriters tell us about 50 years with Shakey. We also speak to Sleeper, Beirut and Michael Chapman about their brilliant new albums, meet stellar producer Stephen Street, chart the rise of Discogs and welcome our new columnist, Pete Paphides. If all that’s not enough, you’ll find the most comprehensive range of new album, reissue and hardware reviews anywhere on the newsstand. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers.