Album review: Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1
The first of two new albums set to be released by the band this year, Foals needed to work out a future vision before starting work on Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1. The Oxford five-piece’s debut Antidotes, complete with its of-the-era math rock twitchiness, feels like a distant memory now. And while the soaring anthems that marked 2013’s Holy Fire and 2015’s What Went Down bulked out the band’s arena-filling sound, another record in the same vein would feel a bit too comfortable. “It’s evolution vs. extinction,” as frontman Yannis Philippakis put it to NME: the band wants its new music to be ambitious and, importantly, speak to the political tensions of 2019.
Part 1 emerges out of a haze on ‘Moonlight’, an opener that would feel tranquil if it were not for the electronic malfunctions that punctuate it. Foals reassert their flair for indie-pop hits before long, with the album’s lead single ‘Exits’ and the hyperactive ‘White Onions’. ‘In Degrees’ takes the record into new wave territory, propelled along by a bubbling bassline and repetitive, swirling vocals. Foals enjoy switching direction on Part 1: the pace slows on ‘Syrups’, before taking a sinister nosedive at the the halfway mark; the nimble xylophone on ‘Cafe D’Athens’ seems to accidentally wander into cosmic surroundings. (There is nothing subtle, mind, about how the festival “clap along” beat is shoved into penultimate track ‘Sunday’.) At its most original, this is an album shaped by paranoia, in which Foals deliver their trademark riffs while constantly looking over their shoulder in an anxious world.