CD REVIEW: What Went Down by Foals

I WASN’T that surprised to read Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis had been forced to pull out of a live gig this week.

After all, he puts such passion into every song it’s perhaps more of a wonder that his shredded larynx doesn’t break down more often.

Never knowingly under-powered, Yannis’ full-throttle delivery is put through its paces once again throughout What Went Down, a disparate collection of the hard-rocking, the soulful and what can only be described as the downright funky.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The title track opens the album and comes across like a Led Zeppelin tribute, all heavy chords, angry guitars and throaty vocals.

But rather than descend into a full-on rock opus, the CD opens out into a more varied display of the band’s talents, calling to mind the likes of New Order and, occasionally, Coldplay.

Mountain At My Gates brings some funk to proceedings, wah-wah guitars and rattling drums lifting the spirits amid the singer’s downbeat tones.

Like many indie-rock bands recently, Foals have followed the craze for electronic beats, synths and drum machines, and the dance-influenced Birch Tree is right up there with anything else around at the moment, its relentless beats sure to get your feet tapping.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The key to any memorable guitar-led song is the combination of infectious chord progression and a killer chorus, and Yannis and Co have hit the mark more often than not here.

I’m happy to report this is no toploader, with two of the three closing tracks — the atmosphere London Thunder and the unstoppably brilliant Lonely Hunter — keeping the standard high right to the end of the album.

I reckon I’ll be playlisting them for months to come.

Not every track will have such impact or longevity, the lyrics are generally irrelevant and there is more than the odd jarring rhyme.

But I suspect both the band and their fans will have a blast bringing this CD to life once Yannis gets his voice back.

Related topics: