It seems like every week, there's a new buzz band being imported from the UK. Since the Arctic Monkeys made it big a few years ago, the world has turned its attention to the UK to find the next big thing. People in the UK are more fickle about bands than they are here in the U.S. They may like a band for a hot minute, then discard them and move onto the next over-hyped one. At the beginning of the year, several publications came out with their "bands to watch in 2008" lists. Oxford, England quintet Foals made an appearance touted to breakthrough this year. The band released its debut a few weeks ago, Antidotes, to tepid reviews. In a month they will have been forgotten overseas, which is a shame because Foals' record is solid and its live performances intense, frenetic and satisfying enough to prove just maybe Foals is more than a flash in a pan Vampire Weekend.
Download: Foals - "Two Steps, Twice"
Foals formula isn't anything original: Sonic Youth + Math Rock + Insert any topical UK dance-punk group (ie: Bloc Party), but the songs are atmospheric and loud enough to stand on their own. Lead singer and guitarist Yannis Philippakis comes out and faces off with the bassist on the first song "French Open." The place is packed to the gills as everyone wants to check out the flavor of the month. The guys start shredding their instruments in jerky and spastic motions creating a swirling and potent momentum. They repeat the French chorus, "un peu, d'air sur la terre" which roughly translate into "little air on the ground." Occasionally, the crowd dances and throws its hands in the air. The band's lyrics encompass dystopia, of wanting to move away and escape. The rock-centric "Cassius" plays next followed by "Olympic Airwaves." The guitar rips, the drums pound and Philippakis yelps along. On the bass heavy "Balloons," Philippakis walks towards the audience and stands on the speaker. "It's Saturday night. You should be having a good time," he shouts to the crowd. The band continue to gyrate as the audience nods its heads. "Two Step, Twice" electrifies with fast-paced instrumentations that slowly ebb and flow into catchy "bum, bum, bums." The last song before the encore is "Red Sock Pugie." Philippakis hits a snare drum separated from the drum kit. The song discusses setting things on fire and hearts swelling supporting the thundering beats. Sweaty and exhausted, the guys take a break and come back for two more songs. The band mentions something about Jacques Chirac before revving up "Mathletics" (taking the genre literally) ending the set on incendiary guitar/bass combo and and enthusiastic crowd reaction.
Foals will be back in town for Lolla in August so make sure to slap them on the itinerary. This time around they excluded excellent lovelorn ballad "Big Big Love (Fig. 2), but maybe play it at Lolla, guys?