Foals are due to release Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2 so now is the perfect time for Getintothis’ Nathan Scally to count down their Top 10 songs to date.
The Foals story stretches right back to 2005, through the combination of Youthmovies and The Edmund Fitzgerald – and some more line-up shuffling – the formation we know and love today was born.
And we’ve seen them grow from math rock maestros to one of the biggest bands in the country today.
The release of their debut, Antidotes, was much more than a simple debut. It was a signal of intent.
A band not content to simply be another happy chappy indie band playing summer tunes you’d hear at the school disco – they’ve established their own sound and haven’t compromised their values ever since.
Album after album and tour after tour, their wagon has picked up more and more passengers with every single stop, and it hasn’t slowed them down.
Instead the slew of anthems each record has produced has only kept this motor pumping and driven them up festival bills.
Twice Mercury Prize and once Ivor Novello nominated, each record has garnered the attention of critics and fans alike.
And while they haven’t quite grabbed the Number One album slot or broke into the Top 20 of the Singles chart, they’re still proof you don’t need to choose between experimentation and commercial success.
Three things in life are certain, you know the first two, and number three is someone on your Facebook feed complaining about how everything sounds the same.
Foals are the answer, blending vivacious beats and acute riffs with a tempo that you just can’t stop your hips from reacting to.
In an unpredictable world, it’s nice to know we can always rely on Yannis and co to deliver the goods without ever sounding the same.
Each go around they produce an album out of the box, but not too far, instead just fringing around it – never making you uncomfortable, but still introducing you to new ideas all the same.
And the excitement just doesn’t stop for the Oxford four-piece. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1 has already caused a storm this year, reaching number two in the charts and selling out a large UK tour.
With Part 2 slated for a September release, it’s clear this is more than just a gimmick, but a project they’ve taken time and poured love and attention into to produce.
It’s also worth noting having already co-headlined the Reading and Leeds Festival in 2016, and also completely packed out the Park Stage at Glastonbury this year with a hastily announced secret set – they’re well positioned for a move up the standings on the biggest of stages.
Maybe something like top of the bill on next year’s Other Stage?
It’d be completely deserved, with soon to be six standout albums full of material to draw from. Including the likes of…
10. On The Luna
There’s been no dip in quality with ENSWBLP1.
And this album has proven there’s no need for a change to their sound for the sake of it. Instead, this extra push into what’s possible with synths at centre stage – they command the track from beginning to end, as the rest merely try to compliment this worldly sound.
On tour you’ll find it’s the early tackle a defender makes to ‘let the striker know they’re there’.
Yannis‘ vocals are a standout here, haunting your ears.
Moaning lyrics that latch onto your brain. ‘Time comes round again. It’s itching at your bone.’ sounding almost like the beginning of an existential crisis combined with smooth breaks of tranquillity nearly lullaby-esque to rest the mind in between the crashes of crisis.
Albatross boasts the talents of a chameleon to shift into any genre or mood with a few tweaks here and there.
Their ability to produce something that can be adapted and transformed so easily while having such a fully rounded track cannot be underestimated.
8. London Thunder
It says a lot when album tracks like this to carry so much weight and hold the potential to be a leading number on its own. But Foals have always given off a quality over quantity vibe from the beginning – which is what makes this double album project so exciting.
Without ever really picking up the pace like most of their other efforts, you’re left wanting more yet feeling completely satisfied. It’s a test of patience that pays off tenfold.
7. White Onions
A highlight from ENSWBLP1, we’re almost taken back in time to the jittery guitars of Antidotes.
Regularly compared to the urgency of Cassius, there’s a lot to fit in.
However they’ve taken the time to carefully fold each note and pack the suitcase efficiently as opposed to squeezing every top in sight, because ‘just in case’.
This almost self-tribute is one of the many reasons fans are filled with such optimism for Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2.
6. Spanish Sahara
The first taste of new music from their second studio effort, Total Life Forever, described by Yannis as “like, getting over a trauma, but the trauma doesn’t go away and it multiplies from one into a bunch of furies”.
Coming across in both a lyrical and musical sense, building from whispers into a non-stop clash of sound held together by repeating vocals.
5. My Number
They’re most commercially successful tune to date was a kick in the teeth to anyone who might’ve thought they’d stagnate with album three.
Knocking out molars with every beat and unearthing wisdom teeth with glimmering vocals. It’s infectious rhythm spreads its contagious involuntary toe-tapping and head-bopping to anyone in earshot.
Steering even further away from the safe space of jangly guitars that 2010 was, it was another step away from commercial comfort for the quirky five-piece.
In fact, Total Life Forever was just one 50 minute long flex of their musical muscles.
Diving from effortless funk to heart-plunging soul searchers, they looked the sophomore album slump in the eye, puffed out their chests and pronounced ‘not today’.
One of their heavier efforts, Inhaler, is just a taste of the controlled chaos they’re capable of.
Taking you on a journey of a house in freefall, yet all the furniture has been solidly bolted down.
The eagerness to exploit the world of sounds around them is one of their most intriguing traits – unlike their counterparts, the guitars kind of feel like the sidekick.
Their first real hit, peaking at 26 in the charts, alerted the world that this group of men in skinny jeans, casual shirts and cardigans, aren’t like the rest of their indie counterparts – no matter how similarly they dressed.
From the chorus being chanted over and over, to the music video full of hanging hearts and littered with pills, this is no ordinary band.
It’s a straightforward, for lack of a better word, banger, that instigated the Foals epidemic. If you ever had to tell a stranger about a band with only the one song, this is the choice.
1. Two Step Twice
It’s only right we finish this list just how they finish their set.
This fan favourite from day one, has evolved each year into an epic conclusion for everyone to come to terms with the end of the gig.
It’s a demonstration of their talent and a chance for the crowd to really convey their admiration for one of the most distinctive bands on the live circuit right now.
With so many anthems to choose from, it’s mightily impressive to stand by your closer for so long.
We see so many band change and mix up setlists for the sake of it, but Foals have never felt like a band who make decisions without a reason. If it ain’t broke, don’t replace it