The Joup Friday Album – Third Edition: Foals “Holy Fire”

Foals - Holy Fire (image courtesy of Foals and Transgressive Records)

Foals – Holy Fire (image courtesy of Foals and Transgressive Records)

My dear friend and music collaborator Jessica played me this band out of Oxford, England this past summer before she saw them at Lollapalooza in August. She said, “This is THE band Joey. I can’t get enough of their sound.” No, the band wasn’t Radiohead – who do hail from Lewis Carroll’s hometown – but rather an upstart group from the past five years named Foals.  My entry for this edition of Joup’s Friday album is their 2013 release Holy Fire.

It’s not often I’m assigned to write something for Joup. In fact, this is the first time. I welcome it. I’m glad – it gives me the motivation to contribute to this wonderful site since turning it over to Shawn Baker, Thomas Williams and Chester Whelks, all of who have really pushed it forward in the past six months. My hats of to them. Bakes’ idea of writing a weekly “album” column is genius. Perhaps just because of the sheer randomness of it, but also because Joup is turning into a catalog of killer music reviews by terrific writers who want to spread the word about outstanding artists. Do a category search on any page and you’ll see what I mean. I am a humble contributor.

Foals: yeah, when Jessica played me  Inhaler,the first single off Holy Fire, I dug it. However it didn’t really “hit” me until now. Guess I’m slow on the punch sometimes. This past week has been brutal weather in Chicago. The only thing really good for me to cure those blues is either play or listen to music. Sincerely, music is my saving grace. So Thomas Williams tagged me and I thought, “Crap, how am I going to keep up with these guys? Their writing has just been on fire lately.” Well, I pulled the Foals out of the back pocket I’d tucked it away in six months ago. Perfect timing.

Foals hails from Oxford, England. And as a matter of fact bassist Walter Gervers and guitarist Jimmy Smith attended Abingdon School together (AKA the same school Radiohead attended). Ok, when I did my research, I’ll have to admit this helped peek my interest in the band immediately. Yeah, yeah, Radiohead nerd whatever. But Foals are no Radiohead, I assure you that. Not as a bad thing, just a different animal all together.I searched for a youtube clip that had the album in it’s entirety. No dice, probably for copyright reasons. But I did find a play list of Holy Fire that included some live CCTV performances… even better. Pop that in. “Prelude”, “Inhaler” and “My Number” start this smashing line-up of songs. Jeez, “My Number” is a world-wide hit now and I had no idea. Goes to show you what slowing down from traveling does to you. But boy, you can see why it’s a hit:

You don’t have my number, we don’t need each other now. We don’t need the city, the creed or the culture now.” writes lyricist, guitarist and front man Yannis Philippakis in a telling tale of modern culture. Throw in the damn smart and catchy licks on guitar and keys and you can see why it’s smashed the charts in the UK and other parts of the globe.

Going back to the previous track “Inhaler”, man, it rips. Especially the third part of the song. For lack of a better comparison it has a kind of Rage Against the Machine feel…and there is nothing wrong with that.

Ok so we know the singles are good – I’d hope so with that kind of success – but what about the rest of the album? Yeah, it doesn’t disappoint. Whether it’s the continued driving of “Late Night” or the haunting sound of Philippakis on “Stepson” it has the right pace for a classic album in the making. Throw in the pippy-pop sounding (perhaps self-reflection?) “Bad Habit” or their edgy “Everytime” and Foals have a really nice collection of tunes within a distinctive scope. A sound. Unmistakably Foals.

So your Friday Feature Album originates in the UK, much like Joup’s correspondent Chester Whelks whom I tag for the forth edition. Enjoy.

Joe Grez

Joe Grez

Joe Grzesik (JGrez) is still an artist developer trying to keep up with new technologies. Photography still has been one of his strongest passions. However, now his main focus has led him back to music where he teaches guitar, piano, saxophone and percussion privately. Music education can never be short changed.

2 Responses to The Joup Friday Album – Third Edition: Foals “Holy Fire”
  1. Thomas H Williams

    Thomas H Williams Reply

    Ah Foals…poppy enough to get stuck in your head for days, yet weird enough to be virtually ignored by American radio. Good call.

  2. Chester Whelks Reply

    Valentine’s Day, here I come.

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