Released: 18th October 2019
Two heads are better than one. That’s how the saying goes. If the same applies to albums is still somewhat open to debate. The last eighteen months has seen more than one act try to grapple with the changing demands of streaming culture by playing with their release plans – from short, constant single drops to the more ambitious quick-fire double drops of full-length records, a new way of doing things is still to form. While The 1975’s promise of back-to-back offerings has been delivered on the fly, the second part conceptualised and recorded in amongst a run of international tour dates and festival headline slots, Foals remain indie rock’s most dependable daddies, ruling with the authority of a band who already know they have it all in the bag. Part one of their ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’ duology, delivered back in March, was an album from the top of its class – all grooves and smart swagger. Part two already locked in place, they could move with confidence, already knowing what came next.
Of course, matching the high standards of the first instalment was never going to be a simple task, but Foals are nothing if not consistent. From the raw drive of ‘The Runner’ through the exhilarating ride of ‘Wash Off’, Yannis and co. know exactly what buttons to press. ‘Black Bull’ is a veritable tank, driven right through the gates and onto the front lawn of less robust peers, while ‘Like Lightning’ stomps like a blues rock giant.
It’s not all about the size of the punch, though. ‘Into The Surf’ is a smouldering ember, while ‘Dreaming Of’ sticks close to Foals’ math rock roots. While they’re a band with a familiar vibe, it’s one with more than a single face.
As the ten-minute closer ‘Neptune’ runs out, there’s no denying that Foals are a band unafraid of their own indulgence. Firmly established as elder statesmen of their scene, they’re able to carry it off. More muscular, even their more pretentious moments feel deliberate and decisive. Whatever the new model becomes, Foals are a band who thrive in the seas of change. Reliably brilliant.