By Emi Pogoni
Released February 8th, 2013 - Warner Music
Earlier this month Foals' released their third full length album Holy Fire. Experientially, it is too long. They could have halved it, condensed it, got rid of the filler, and released an EP instead. This would have been much more rewarding. It's not terrible as such, but I won't be listening to this album and only this album all the time for a couple of months. I cannot even fathom a specific situation where I would love to be listening to this, except perhaps during down time at a festival as wallpaper music while the posse is wandering on the search for clean toilets and water.
Though actually, in pure speculation, I would make a bet this album is a fair representation of their live show. The aesthetic is more understandable from that point of view - vocals are a little unintelligible and distant, big-sounding drums and guitar, that "big" sound more generally, waffly structures for songs, solos/interlude sections in songs, and on and on - perfect after you have seen them live and want to reminisce.
However, as an album in and of itself, it falls short. There is not enough variation, period. This is within songs, between songs, and throughout the album, concerning both the sound, and structural elements. More than the first half of the songs are similar in tempo, instrumentation, and overall mix, which seems like a bad call with the tracking of this album. Some of the sounds used are indeed quite interesting, and the sound of the guitar is really nice but, especially the former, they are hardly used for full effect being washed away under the more repetitive instruments.
Nothing in particular is strikingly problematic, but in the creative industry this is a most problematic trait. The biggest flaw is that everything is cohesively nice. Not enough risks were taken. Their audience is not divided enough. In short, it is a bit boring.
2 / 5