Foals: Holy Fire (Warner Bros.)

Holy Fire opens with a sense of gravity. A low buzz and a pattering in the distance draft images of cavernous space before the guitar even shimmers into existence. And then it builds, each new instrument stoking the fire. This rings true throughout the album. Holy Fire reveals a band adept at carving out arc and terrain in its music, and demonstrates a big step forward with a newfound coherence (from track to track as well as from instrument to instrument within songs). Each track thoughtfully develops with strong drive, every layer of sound playing a role in concentrating and directing the energy to its resolution.

Lead vocalist Yannis Philippakis shows his range, from gentle to ragged in “Last Night,” then emotionally plain for closing track “Moon.” Drummer Jack Bevan delivers everything from straightforward rock to complex but engaging rhythms. The guitar work is creative and undeniably rhythmic, at times doing double duty as a percussive element.

“Milk & Black Spiders” carries a catchy chorus over the band’s signature glimmering guitar effect. “Inhaler,” the album’s first single, is about as big as the album gets, with post-prog aggression and relentless drive. And album closer “Moon” may be a long way from Holy Fire‘s start in terms of intensity, but it maintains the industrial feel of the album while naturally constricting it to a close as Philippakis reflects, “It is coming now, my friend, and it’s the end.”

Source: Under the Radar Magazine

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