It was the pinnacle of summer on June 17 in the UK; the British had experienced the record highest temperature of the year broken for a hattrick of consecutive days, with the Met Office recording temperatures of over 32C (89.6F). British band Foals, hailing from Oxford, certainly chose an ideal day to drop something hot of their own- the highly anticipated release of their 7th studio album. The latest installment in the extensive Foals chronology. The indie rock band- now down to 3 members after the departure of Keyboardist Edwin Congreave, joined in collaborative efforts with producers John Hill, Dan Carey, A. K. Paul and Jono Ma, to produce the 11 track long- rock/disco, joyously summery experience: Life Is Yours.
Strong foundations were laid for this record back in 2021, 7 months in advance, with the November 4 release of ‘Wake Me Up’- the first of 5 singles to be rolled out before the album release. In an interview with Triple J, lead singer Yannis Philippakis explained that ‘Wake Me Up’ was, “the best song to put out first because it’s got a party vibe to it, and I feel like everyone could do with a good party now”. Philippakis was correct, after extensive covid-19 related lockdown’s, we all needed something to get us up and dancing. This single delivered everything that it was supposed to! It opens up with chime-y, funky guitar riff paired with an energetic synth loop- instantly drawing you into the dance floor. When listening to Jack Bevan’s groovy drum beat whilst walking; it’s hard not to add a dance-like rhythm to your step, you really do feel like you are ‘walking in a dream’ or ‘the finest place ever seen’. Phillipakis’ lyrics dream of a better tomorrow, full of joy, warmth and discovery- an “antithesis to lockdown blues” as described by the singer himself. ‘Wake Me Up’ undeniably ‘woke up’ fans as they flocked to Foals in anticipation for single number 2.
After an agonizing 3 month wait, ‘2am’ was released on February 10 of this year. This single became the most popular track on the album, after its eventual release with almost 16 million listens on Spotify (at time of writing), and it’s not hard to understand why it’s so popular. With ‘2am’, Foals created another delicious dance rock tune, which further lay out the tone of the- then upcoming- album. However, the track did not possess the danceability of its final form in its infancy. In an interview on ‘The Times and The Sunday Times’ YouTube channel, band members Jimmy Smith and Yannis Philippakis described the song as being far more “laid back” and “mellow” keeping truer to the lyrical content of the song. Smith voiced his opinions on the early demo; the guitarist mentioned that it had a “really wired vibe to it, it’s like a sad uplifting song”. It was producer Dan Carey who added the electric energy which the song is known for. The synthesizer chord loop, recorded on a ‘Chroma Polaris’, has a wonderfully warm but powerful quality to it. On top of that, Yannis plays a simple but infectious guitar riff to get you dancing along. Another classic for the Oxford natives.
3 More singles were released prior to the release of ‘Life Is Yours’. ‘Looking High’ is a slowly building but energetic song, full of muted guitar riffs and deep pulsating synth sounds. ‘2001’ has funky bass lines and high, bright tones giving summery imagery in abundance. Lastly, ‘Crest of the Wave’ arrived with a slightly different vibe to the other singles with its slower tempo, it gives more time to breath, and is packed full of the regular Foals goodness. With the 5th and final single released, it was time for them to be joined by 6 other songs for a total runtime of 41 minutes and 55 seconds on ‘Life is Yours’. The album is such an enjoyable listen, radiant arpeggios, shimmering pads, polished riffs and scintillating lyrics all come together to create an experience more summery than summer itself! It is crowned- and rightfully so- as my favorite album of 2022. They can put this title up on the mantlepiece next to their 5 NME’s, 3 Q’s and singular Brit award- although I think those awards are just a little more important than mine!
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