Detroit. Willesden. Olympos, on the Greek island of Karpathos. “The inside of our skulls”. These are the places that make up Holy Fire, Foals third album, their most direct and fully realized album yet. Foals have stepped up from, as Yannis puts it, “songs for indie clubs” to something much, much bigger. Their third album might not sound like Depeche Mode or Nine Inch Nails, but it has much of the same ambitious spirit and grandiose aesthetic that led to those groups touching the lives of millions. This is the sound of Foals arriving.
It’s all a long way from the group’s early years in Oxford, where Yannis Philippakis, Jack Bevan, Walter Gervers, Edwin Congreave and Jimmy Smith convened after spells in various well regarded bands such as The Edmund Fitzgerald, whose intricacies were a league away from the Libertines-influenced indie skiffle and American garage rock that dominated at the time. Debut album Antidotes (2004) attempted to capture the live energy and sense of spontaneity that had made Foals one of the most sought-after live acts in the UK. 2007 follow-up Total Life Forever was a surprise to many (Foals never sit still for long) dealing in more expansive, eloquent sounds and a more mellow feel inspired in part by Foals‘ long-time enthusiasm for weed. Now, as they approach their 30s, Foals are moving on from the “kind of lost boys club element to how we’ve lived for the past six years” to make their best music yet.