by: Nathalia Fagundes
I’ve been a Foals fan since their first album, Antidotes, came out in 2008. Like most of the bands I fall in love with, when I discover them, no one knows who they are. I had to jam to “Red Socks Pugie", and sing “Electric Bloom” by myself for what felt like the longest time! 2010 rolled around and Foals delivered their second album, Total Life Forever. Now, people began talking. Yannis Philippakis is such an energetic frontman and their live sets during tours were grabbing everyones attention! Holy Fire came out in 2013 and solidified Foal’s status as a powerhouse rock group. Philippakis and company now knew exactly how to please a crowd, and the world was listening.
Back in May, to my delight, Foals answered my requests and announced they were releasing their fourth studio album, What Went Down, August 28th. I was beyond ecstatic, and they released their first single, album opener ‘What Went Down’ to tease us all. This single reminded me of early Foals, to the time of lovely Antidotes, so I was anxiously awaiting more of this sound. They then released their second single, ‘Mountain at my Gates’ which I think is a masterpiece. Patience was tested, since I had to wait a few more months for the album.
Foals are artist of the month for September, and there’s no question why. What Went Down is easily one of the best albums of 2015. Earlier in the year, I had my set choices of albums, and I am so happy that Foals now are on that list too! Releasing a new album the same day as one of my favorite bands, Beach House released their new album, Depression Cherry, is no easy thing to do, but Foals certainly have put up a good fight. Also, having a surprise set at Reading and Leeds Festival shows just how ready Foals are to headline any festival. Their live sets have grown throughout the years, and now with the addition of this album, Foals really can take on the world, one show at a time.
Highlight tracks of of this album have to be “Mountain at My Gates”, “Albatross”, “Night Swimmers”, and “Lonely Hunter”. “What I give it takes away / Will I go or will I stay” is how “Mountain at My Gates” grabs me right away. The bridge has Philippakis begging “Oh give me some time / Show me the foothold from which I should climb” in this desperation to find a way. The build in this song is amazing, and by the end of the song I’m repeating alongside Philippakis asking to give me my fate, lungs, and choice, but knowing there is a hold that keeps me coming back. “Albatross” could have easily been a single, but I’m happy I had the delight of discovering it myself when I got the album. Again, much like “Mountain at my Gates”, what intrigues me with this song is the lyrics and how this reminds me of early Foals circa Antidotes. Jack Bevan’s drumming in this track keeps it moving, until it accumulates into this storm of bottled up madness. “Night Swimmers” definitely will keep fans of Total Life Forever happy, with the easy grooving steady beat driving in the back. “Lonely Hunter” is the second to last song on the album, and provides slow, contemplative, questions that Philippakis wants us to soak in. This album is driven by intensity, something the band wanted when working on it, and the anxiety and panic is present, yet by the end, I am left looking back.
It will soon be eight years since I stumbled upon this band, and I am so happy I’ve gotten to watch them grow. This album makes me so proud to be one of their fans, because they don’t let me down. As our artist of the month, I hope you check out What Went Down and the rest of their discography, and see what I’m talking about.