Foals: Total Life Forever

Videos by American Songwriter

Total Life Forever
Sub Pop
[Rating: 3.5 stars]

Imagine it’s a beautiful summer day. The sun is shining, but it’s not too hot—there’s a gentle breeze blowing. The soft, green grass is freshly cut, and you’re lying on it. And you’re listening to the second release from the Oxford quintet Foals.

The songs are rich with relentless, complex instrumentation, the smooth, ethereal voice of Yannis Philippakas, and dubious lyrics about life. Each song is complex and unique, yet nearly each one explores doubts about the future: “The future is not what it used to be,” Philippakas sings on “Black Gold.”

Some songs linger too long like a bee that tip-toes across your skin trying to discern whether you really are in fact pollen. Lead single “This Orient” quickly loses its momentum, and the redundant lyrics (“It’s your heart/That gives me this western feeling”) support the lackluster, repetitive instrumentation. The longest song, however, “Spanish Sahara” just might be the epitome of perfection. Slow and gentle, swift and harsh, it’s hard to imagine anything more beautiful.


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