Foals – Antidotes

Structured patterns, poppy dance-rock, and, considering their Myspace page possibly pot-induced, dreams of vampires and “marching bands which never rest” may not sound like they’d go together but combined, it makes up Foals first full length album Antidotes. The self-proclaimed “snotty art school dropouts hungry for the dollar” have managed to connect mathy guitars with rarely changing, nonchalant vocals while keeping the fun alive.

Horns swell into the first song, “The French Open,” until changing into jazzy guitars. Just when you think you’re moving forward, the unlikely transition repeats and you’re back to the beginning. While you’re anticipating this happening again (it doesn’t), vocals finally come in; first he’s singing in (you guessed it) French then in English and mid-sentence, the song runs right into “Cassius.”

“Cassius” is a cocky, would-be jock anthem on beating out the competition and then rubbing it in their face. The music is like putting a puzzle together without going in any particular order: you don’t know what the picture is yet, but you place pieces by guess until it turns out to be a work of art. This song, as most of the others on the album, has so many timing changes and alternating sounds that it could easily come out messy, but they are so precise, it’s a nice surprise rather than annoyance.

The next song, “Red Socks Pugie” is my hands down favorite. The sound in the verses is casual and indifferent with mostly drums and guitars only once in a while, then the chorus grabs you in and even after one listen, you’ll be singing along to: “Oh what the hell, we set it on fire.” It took me a while to finally change it and move on.

“Olympic Airways” is made for a road trip to the coast. It’s driving with the windows down on a cool night; it’s that feeling of being completely aware of the breeze off the ocean, knowing you’re getting close. The lyrics match the moment with simplicity: “Let’s disappear ’til tomorrow.”

While many of the songs on the record take a similar path, “Big Big Love (Fig. 2)” stands out the most. They’ve created a hazy, clouded atmosphere, like walking through a dream that takes a bad turn when Yanni Philippakis yells, “Oh! Electric shocks, no!” Then the following track, “Like Swimming” is nearly two minutes of overly upbeat guitars and clapping that is so lazily done, I can’t really see it as an attempt to pump up the crowd during live shows. Really, there’s seems to be no point of it at all (like “Space” which is exactly one minute of complete silence). Whatever the reason they put these on the album, they don’t take anything away from it – just makes you pause and laugh to yourself, “What the?”

The album overall is nothing short of excellent. I will say it may be a little too repetitive for some. Being that it’s 14 tracks of comparable sounds, the songs following “Big Big Love (Fig. 2)” are almost too much of a good thing. Antidotes is more than worth a listen, though; it’s sure to make you a fan. You can pick up a copy of in stores now.

Foals: website | myspace | download “Balloons”
Sub Pop: website | myspace

by: Melissa

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