‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1’ is another stunning album by a timeless band: Here’s to Foals, the band who just keep getting better with age!
‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1’
It is pretty rare for me to get soppy about a new release, however when it comes to Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 and Foals’ long-awaited return, I can’t help myself but get nostalgic. Having listened to and followed Foals for many years, they hold a special place in my musical consciousness. Unlike other bands who came up during the same era and have long since faded from the indie scene, five albums down, Foals remain just as relevant and exciting as ever.
The secret to their success? Reinvention.
Foals are the masters of album to album evolution, constantly experimenting with increasingly meta lyrics, interesting harmonies, and wavy printed shirts. There is an inherent integrity to everything they do and unsurprisingly, their latest album is no different, exploring a more synth-heavy sound whilst reviving and furthering the frenetic energy of their house party days.
Opening with ambient track “Moonlight,” Foals set the scene for the album using wordless vocal samples, synths with a hint of Stranger Things, a simple guitar accompaniment and even a trace of birdsong if you listen carefully enough! The opening lyrics ring out:
I walked into the desert
I walked out of the past
You were riding on a black horse
To sing songs at the table again
The words of a band ready to return to the public eye fresh with new material and vitality to share.
This is then followed by the first single release of the album, “Exits,” an absolutely definitive Foals song. With some trademark rhythmic intensity provided by the pulsating keyboard lines and the disjunct drum kit, “Exits” is incredibly reminiscent of Foals’ earliest work, but seems to be enhanced through increased attention to musical texture through added synths, experimental percussion, and background vocals. The whole song seems to be carefully sewn together, becoming even more cohesive when listened to in conjunction with its accompanying music video, a film by Albert Moya featuring up and coming actors Christa Théret and Isaac Hempstead Wright. The film uncovers a sinister element to the song that sets it even further apart from your standard jangly indie tune and moves Foals ever closer to the realm of art music.
The album then begins to take an upward curve in terms of energy with “White Onions” and “In Degrees” with both tracks providing some groovy dance beats bound to go down a storm at festivals.
“In Degrees“ stands out as a real high point of the album. There is a disco feel to it thanks to an incredibly funky bass line and thumping lower register that on finally yielding, gives the crowd a drop far more akin to club music than a typical Foals gig. This is super refreshing to hear, and it works perfectly in this eclectic album. The lyrics are also a classic case of double meaning with Yannis using his poetic playfulness to discuss on a deeper level the topic of global warming.
I saw the black rain pouring
A lost love on display
Bit by bit and day by day
I know we’ve lost our way
And I hear your final footsteps
I’ve lost you by degrees
With “Syrups,” the album takes a psychedelic turn in its use of electronics. It’s just as groovy as what has come before but with the brakes held on slightly more tempo wise giving it a dreamy quality, stockpiled full of poetic turns, fragments of electric guitar riffs and long periods of tension perfect for jamming or perhaps jumping off of venues…
Moving into the second single of the album, “On the Luna” there is an undeniable hint of “Birch Tree” and “Miami” about it with its poppy, upbeat vibe and sunny disposition. However, as in “In Degrees,” there is an underlying tension which works its way into the lyrics making it a banging indie dance track with a surprisingly topical edge. See:
When I was a Kung-Fu kid on the Luna
I was moonin’ at the Bella Luna
Trump clogging up my computer
But I’m watching all day, all day
From the initial sound of a glockenspiel at the start of “Café d’Athens,” Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 begins to wind down in its latter half, moving from frenetic dance tracks to a more ambient, experimental sound, indulging in some relaxed anthemic writing.
The brief trailer-esque track “Surf, Pt 1” segues nicely into the chilled-out “Sunday,” a fairly stripped back thought piece that focuses significantly on lead vocals and chords and featuring an uncharacteristically laid-back drum kit part. It picks up some pace in the middle of the track, pushing towards the dramatic finale that is “I’m Done with the World (& It’s Done with Me).”
This is perhaps the track that took me back the most on first listen. The lush opening piano chords never fail to bring a tear to my eye, touching on emotion I have rarely heard in Foals previous tracks. Hauntingly beautiful and harmonically rich, this truly is a song that could only have been produced by a band in their prime. Mature, intelligent and bloody talented!
The first in a two-part series (with Part 2 out in August), Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 is another stunning album by a timeless band: Here’s to Foals, the band who just keep getting better with age!
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📸 © Warner Bros Records