Album Review: Foals-Total Life Forever

As the much anticipated follow-up to Antidotes, the potential for greatness here is undeniable! The drooling populous teased by the band members vague preamble and this teaser site, TFL could prove to be one of the most influential albums of the upcoming decade.

Hitting shelves and iTunes everywhere on Monday 10th of May, Total Life Forever WILL rock your world. Read on to find out why.

Initial Facts: 11 tracks- 50 minutes. Released by Warner Music UK.

Blue Blood- 5:17 :

There’s always a sense of expectation when listening to the opening track of albums as anticipated as this, the first real look at the direction of the bands latest work, the statement of intent as it were. Simplistic, atmospheric guitar plucking is accompanied by distant vocals to start with, when instantly, the track flourishes into an rhythmic and sanguine riff which reminded me why I liked Foals in the first place. Great opening track, implicit of the dynamic themes that move through the rest of the track.

Miami- 3:42 :

The introduction of this track instantly affirms the above, with a big almost bombastic beat, catchy tune, and edgy vocals changing the scene somewhat. The song moves to widen the albums scope; with the actual name of the track coupling with its impassive sound to create an energetic disco-pop aspect.

Total Life Forever- 3:18 :

The albums title track sees a casual bassline accentuated by flickering guitar notes as the band members chant the lyrics in-unison. It sounds understated, yet the catchy beat gives it appeal. This in my opinion is far from being the best track on the album, but has a very listenable quality meaning you won’t want to be skipping through to the albums better tunes.

Black Gold- 6:26 :

This is the song that grabbed my attention the most upon first hearing it, and probably my personal favorite. Right from the go the track sounds moody and captivating; with its raw, deep guitar chords and echoing background noise, it generally has a dark, almost nefarious depth to it. Enforced by its transient change in pace mid-way through, with the song finally being hammered home to an epic and morose riff that reeks of attitude.

Spanish Sahara- 6:50 :

This being the track which Foals fans anticipating this album would have heard first, due to its pre-emptive release, it loses none of its impact when listening to it in the context of the album. The way that its introspective verse with its naked and vulnerable sound, builds to the hauntingly majestic discourse that gives the song its meaning, never tires on the ears. Simply jaw-dropping, raw and moving stuff this.

This Orient- 4:05 :

A much needed shift in tempo after the sombre nature of Spanish Sahara is offered up here. Uplifting, pokey rhythms typical of Foals’ pacey tracks are framed with catchy lyrics, and signed off with kooky vocal samples blipping away into the infinite. One of the albums more accessible tracks, and most likely to appeal to the larger spectrum of Indie fans.

Fugue- 0:49 :

Short and fairly vague, this instrumental track is probably more of a divider than anything. Something to break up the ‘obvious’ track-by-track nature of album listening.

After Glow- 6:09 :

Straight after the albums ‘intermission’ of Fugue, we’re back into the thick of it, this time however the focus being on the deeper-emotional side of things. Yannis Philippakis’ charged vocals bind with the flavoursome musical accompaniment creating a stark contrast to the dark emotions that the tracks compelling throes evoke.

Alabaster- 4:00 :

Another challenging track that adds to the various dimensions of the albums emotional-tapestry, the track has an almost paranoid quality to it. Not a stand-alone favorite of mine, but more of an integral feature of the albums overall depth and diversity.

2 Trees- 5:11 :

A track that almost defines the perception of angst in Indie music, its every aspect adhering to its intimate nature. By far the most inspiring and otherworldly ‘outro’ on the album, massive-sounding, glistening electronic chords overlay the pounding background hysteria, alluding to some kind of grandiose musical ‘event’, that just adds to the albums encompassing nature.

What Remains- 4:37 :

I would not have been surprised if I was told that the vocals for this track had been delivered by Brandon Flowers himself, such is the similarity in its style. In fact, the track generally sounds like something that The Killers would love to have written themselves, with its big discombobulated beat, raw guitars and high pitch vocal delivery. A nice track that rounds off the album perfectly, slowing everything down to a retrospective pace.

Album ‘Moments’: The two soundbites that sum up the deepest emotions of the album for me can be found at the climactic points of tracks, Spanish Sahara and Black Blood. As the kind of tracks that you’ll just listen to over and over, they are as serious as they are beautiful and will no doubt capture the hearts and minds of everyone who allows the tracks to soak in.

Final Thoughts: To keep things short and sweet: Serious, mature, beautiful, epic, atmospheric and brilliant. If I were to give this album a rating, it would definitely hit the heights of 9/10 in my book. So yeah, 9/10.

Track of the Album: Black Gold, download here.

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5 comments to Album Review: Foals-Total Life Forever

  • mediajunkie

    this is exactly the reason i love this site!! terrific music, food for the soul.

  • Appreciate that mate, I’m sure Ed will too (when he gets back to a laptop!).

  • Carrp!

    You really think this highly of it Ed? I personally think they’ve swung too far away from Antidotes which is easily one of my top 10 albums of the last decade. Safe to say I’m a little disappointed but I have to hope it grows on me!

  • (FYI, Ed’s having difficulties accessing the internet, he’s not ignoring you!)

  • Ed

    Hey carrp! Sorry for the late reply, It sounds like you are a bigger fan of antidotes than me, although I do think its a great album. The thing that I liked about Total Life Forever was the darkness and depth to it. I don’t think that theres much doubt that it will appeal to a greater audience of listeners, which isn’t always a good thing, but I guess the band members wanted to add a more ‘all-encompassing’ dimension to their style. That said, I think the more you listen to it, the parallels between the two albums will come into fruition and it may grow on you. You should check out a band called Wild Beasts if you haven’t already, they’re pretty much love or hate, but if you like their style then their music is incredibly rewarding.

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