FOALS – ‘What Went Down’ (5/5)

(Transgressive /Warner Bros.)

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Foals Cover

‘What Went Down’ is the fourth studio album from the Oxford band Foals.

This record is the follow-up to ‘Holy Fire’, released in 2013 and resulted in their second nomination for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, their 2010 album ‘Total Life Forever’ being the first.

According to frontman Yannis Philippakis, ‘What Went Down’ is their ‘loudest and heaviest record to date’.

It certainly starts in that way, with the opening track, sharing the album title, dominated by hard and fast guitar riffs and drum beats.

As the album progresses, the songs switch between heavy and light with ease, for example, ‘Snake Oil’, which is fast and furious, is followed by ‘Night Swimmers’, a funky number that could have been written by Nile Rodgers.

This shows how considerably the band have matured since their 2008 debut ‘Antidotes’, they play with much more confidence these days, and Philippakis’s vocals have developed to provide a richer sound, making even the more mediocre tracks stand out.

Overall, it is a great listen, it seems that the majority of the songs have been carefully crafted and are unique, which is an outstanding feat, considering the short space of time from announcement to release.

In my opinion, this is a candidate for album of the year, and will surely be Foals’ third Mercury Music Prize nomination.

TOP TRACK: ‘What Went Down’

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