tb-two* photo galleries
Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By HANNAH ELLIOTT, Robinson High
Grade: ***, 3/5 asterisks
There is something very predictable yet completely unknown about the Foals and their sound. At some points their music is just like any other indie rock song, vocals seeming very similar to Fleet Foxes or Portugal. The Man. Yet, other aspects of the Foals have a distinctive complexity very unfamiliar to me.
The Oxford, England, natives focus on a somewhat unknown genre called math rock, which explains my confusion. Math rock is a style that abandons all traces of any blues or folk and is more calculated, where the instrumental riffs are usually based on timed formulas. While sounding chaotic and messy, it is actually the exact opposite. The jury is still out on how I feel about this seemingly emotionless genre.
Spanish Sahara, their highest acclaimed song from the album preceding Holy Fire, is a good indicator of one of the Foals’ sides, and most likely the more preferred. Songs such as Stepson, Out Of The Woods and Late Night all seem to grasp onto the sound heard in Spanish Sahara.
Lead singer Yannis Philippakis displays a wide variety of vocal range. The more I listened to his voice the more I was mesmerized by the controlled rasp. Inhaler, the first single off the new album, shows the hard post-punk notes Philippakis can reach, while Bad Habit showcases his softer side, blending in like another variable in the complex mathematical rock equation.
Prelude is a soothing instrumental jam sesh that starts Holy Fire in the right direction. The incorporation of techno and keyboards comes into play harmoniously and immediately got me interested. The absence of vocals in this song is possibly the reason I enjoy it so much; the mix of techno, rock and a dash of punk is an intriguing listen.
I wouldn’t categorize this album as bad by any means, because musically it is quite fun and ambitious, but the lack of true passion is evident to me. I like being able to sense emotion in a song, whether I can identify the lyrics or not. This emptiness goes back to the whole math rock, I think. The word “math” already puts a bad taste in my mouth and the thought of good soulful rock being replaced by mathematically planned rhythms and riffs just irks me.