Release Date: Mar 8, 2019
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Regardless of where you checked in on Foals' journey - or, heaven forbid, checked out again - there's something to sink into on 'Everything Not Saved… Part 1' It’s no surprise Foals are the last ones standing. From their earliest days tearing through house parties to their more recent, equally-chaotic shows at the top of festival bills, they've been a rock, weathering fads, hype and buzz through a decade-plus career. Where peers in The Maccabees and Wild Beasts have fallen by the wayside, Foals have stayed stoic.
Across four albums and seven years, Foals have become one of the country's most treasured indie bands. Graduating to headline Reading & Leeds, succeeding while so many of their peers fell prey to the 'indie landfill' tag and collapsed around them, they stand alongside Arctic Monkeys as their generation's world-beating British success story. Musically, the frenetic math-rock of 2008 debut album 'Antidotes' was slowly, carefully sculpted into something altogether meatier, and by the time the band reached 2015's 'What Went Down', earth-shattering riffs were their bread and butter, intricacies bulldozed out of the way.
Foals bring with them an interesting discussion: can a band ever really be considered as great if they lack a great album? In the UK, the Oxford fourpiece (since the departure of bassist Walter Gervers in 2018) are one of the last survivors of the late-00s thanks to an incredible consistency and a couple of truly era-defining singles—but no album feels truly essential. The first three feel like they lack that final punch, while 2015's What Went Down went so punch-heavy that it left no room for the style or intricacies of their other work. It often sounded like they were trying to become another rock band.
Foals need no introduction. From Antidotes to Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1, they've solidified themselves as the defining soundtrack of a generation, headlining festivals all over and accustomed to sold-out crowds. With massive bangers like 'My Number' and 'What Went Down', all eyes have been on what they're going to do next. And it turns out that's two albums, both with 2019 releases and both parts of a larger whole.
The Lowdown: With their first album since 2015's What Went Down, British indie rockers Foals return with their most ambitious effort yet. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, releasing in two parts as a double album, touches on the inevitability and cynicism that faces our current time. Foals take this underlying motif on Part One and coil it around the heavy guitars and rhythmic percussion that they have come to be known for.
For Foals , the loss has been twofold. Having amicably parted ways with bassist Walter Gervers during 2017, and having seen many of their contemporaries fall by the wayside, it is apparent that Foals have something to prove. Throughout a career spanning over a decade, the band have retained their success, proving their ability to mould and metamorphose audibly between releases and Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 1 is no exception in this regard.
Foals' résumé is filled with roles that now look quaint for guitar bands in 2019. They emerged on a wave of hype from the British press with a Dave Sitek-produced debut on Sub Pop, a transatlantic "hipster band" when that still meant something. Two years later, they were an imperial rock act that won the NME Best Track Award with a nearly seven-minute single as windswept and majestic as its title ("Spanish Sahara").
More than a decade on from debut album 'Antidotes' we still have no idea where to place Foals. Opening as a math rock group equally influenced by Don Cabellero and Kompakt, 'Total Life Forever' saw a firm embrace of electronic culture before the potent force of their live show drove 'What Went Down' to take on the dominant, muscular impact of Led Zep in their preening prime. But that was four years ago.
A band's chemistry is a delicate thing, so the departure of co-founding bassist Walter Gervers could have been a major spanner in the works for Oxford's Foals. However, rather than replace him, they have rejigged their sound, opting for analogue synthesiser-driven bass lines, which have given their grooves a different zip. After 2015's driving, distortion/riff-heavy What Went Down, Foals' fifth is in some ways closer to their math rock debut, Antidotes, and in others could hardly be further away from it.