Album of the week: Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1

Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 1 album cover

Confession time – Foals haven’t been on my radar since 2010’s Total Life Forever, which featured the brilliant Spanish Sahara but little of interest.

With that in mind I wasn’t expecting too much from Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1, but how wrong I was. This is an exceptionally good half an album that manages to constantly catch you off guard.

It displays a mastery of song progression – with layers building and building on each other until you are incapable of anything but being sucked into the tracks.

On numerous occasions the first few bars of a track leave you with low expectations and little indication of what’s to come but by the end you’re left thinking ‘that was fucking brilliant!’

Prime examples are Syrups, a slower number with a dominant bass that adds keyboards, soulful vocals and guitars as it goes, while On The Luna starts all Maroon 5 but gets beefier as it goes and is beyond recognition by the close of the track.

Sunday is perfectly named, as it has a laid-back sunny Sunday afternoon feel to it. But even here we get some guitar and keyboard layers, a squelchy bass coming in and even a change of tempo that will be perfect for getting the summer festival crowd bouncing.

There are some more full-on numbers too, such as In Degrees, which is an all-out dance number – Foals style, and the brilliant White Onions, which has buzzy guitars and some delicious heavy notes in the chorus.

Even in the quieter moments, such as with the synth chorals of opener Moonlight and the solo piano of closer I’m Done With The World (& It’s Done With Me), there is still plenty of atmosphere and emotion on show.

I had to listen to this album immediately after finishing it first time round just to make sure I hadn’t been hoodwinked by it, but if anything it sounded better second time around.

Part 2 of this work is out in the autumn, and I for one can’t wait.

Release date: 08 March 2019

Rating: 8.5/10

Standout track: White Onions

For fans of:

  • The Twilight Sad
  • Editors
  • Klaxons

Listen on Spotify

Album review: White Lies – Five

White Lies - Five album cover

London post-punk 3-piece White Lies release their fifth studio album a decade after their first came out, with the band pushing hard on the oh-so-fashionable alternative 80’s vibe. A lot of familiar synth noises back up their guitar work on an enjoyable, but ultimately unremarkable, work.

Opener Time to Give, is quite emblematic of the album as a whole, starting with some soft echo-laden keyboards before moving into a indie-pop vibe with synth overtones. Nice enough, but then it throws in a keyboard break that doesn’t really feel like it fits with the rest of the track and keeps going with it.

Never Alone is piece that uses a throbbing keyboard bass line to push the track along, adding a touch of Editors alongside the pop elements of the track. Pushing the pop even further is Tokyo, which feels like it was written to maximise radio airtime.

Everywhere you turn on this album you can feel the influences screaming at you. Kick Me, for example kicks you in the face with Pink Floyd before a change in direction brings you to towards an actually quite satisfying crescendo. Denial starts like ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police, though the chorus is a lot more dramatic than Sting’s version.

Some of the synth/guitar combos across the album, particularly on Jo?, land somewhere between Bon Jovi and Van Halen, which may be a good or bad thing depending on your predisposition to those artists.

To my mind, the band saves the best until last with Fire and Wings, a classic loud-soft effort that at moments sounds like a collaboration between Gary Newman and Nirvana.

In many ways, Five is reminiscent of the recent Twilight Sad album, but doesn’t quite reach the same heights. Rather than pulling threads of reminiscence from their influences, White Lies have instead chosen a more direct borrowing from their past favourites the album. Add to that the vocals of Harry McVeigh, which are competent if not outstanding and you have a work that is nice enough to listen to, but I can’t see it staying on my favourites playlist for too long.

Release date: 01 February 2019

Rating: 6/10

Standout track: Fire and Wings

For fans of:

  • Editors
  • Interpol
  • The Twilight Sad

Listen on Spotify

Album of the week: The Twilight Sad – It Won/t Be Like This All The Time

The Twilight Sad - It Won/t Be Like This All The Time album cover

The Twilight Sad have been knocking around for a few years now but, much to my shame, this is my first encounter with the Scottish post-punk five piece. But I’ll certainly be exploring their back catalogue after this.

It Won/t Be Like This All The Time is and emotionally-wrought journey through a combination of indie-rock, post-punk and shoegaze, all heavily dipped in 80s-style synths that are reminiscent of Editors at their best.

Opener [10 Good Reasons for Modern Drugs] sets the tone as a building track that layers sound on top of sound to devastating effect. It’s a style that’s re-employed across several tracks on the album, and is responsible for most of the album’s strongest moments such as Auge/Maschine and I/m Not Here [Missing Face].

Elsewhere on the album, there are a few tracks such as The Arbor and Keep It All To Myself that adopt a lower-key swing beat that will have your head swaying unconsciously, rather than the vigorous head nodding that will accompany most of the rest.

Vocalist James Graham’s heavily-accented folky voice is one of the things that makes The Twilight Sad stand out from their indie rivals but may not be to everyone’s taste. I’ll admit it took a bit of getting used to and initially I found myself enjoying the album in spite of it. However with further listens I’ve grown to appreciate the delicacy encapsulated within it, that adds to the beautiful bleakness this album oozes out of every pore.

It might be a little too early to be talking about album’s of the year – there’s a long way to go yet – but this album certainly has the potential to be in the mix and will be sitting on my playlist for some time to come.

Release dates: 18 January 2019

Rating: 8.5/10

Standout track: I/m Not Here [Missing Face]

For fans of:

  • Editors
  • Maximo Park
  • The Cure

Listen on Spotify