“I said I’m so sorry to have kept you waiting”, Yannis Philippakis laments in the chorus of Exits – the lead single from the new album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1.
The apology is not unjust; it has been three and a half years since Foals released their last effort, What Went Down, to critical acclaim, with a campaign which came to a head with a headline slot at Reading Festival and cemented the Oxford 4-piece as one of Britain’s strongest musical offerings.
Far from jumping upon this worldwide attention with a hashed-out, radio-friendly new release, Foals have lain almost entirely dormant since What Went Down and return now with a record that explores politics, global warming and the brutal symbiotic relationship that we have with technology – as alluded to in the album’s title.
Even lead single, ‘Exits’, appeared to be a commercially baffling choice; it gravitates around the topic of Brexit and very nearly reaches 6 minute. On an album where the average song comes in at around 5 minutes in length, Exits does well not to dry-up or stagnate, with energetic hi-hats and a delivery filled with intent.
When asked about his decision to release this album in 2 parts, Yannis has cited the tracklisting as one of the main deciding factors – with two songs that he considers great album openers and two tracks that he considers to be closing tracks. It is hard to dispute this logic upon hearing album opener ‘Moonlight’, which wistfully eases the listener into the LP, whilst allowing tension to simmer in the bed of the song before hitting the listener with Exits.
Second single, ‘On The Luna’, is the closest thing to a playlist-bothering pop bop that the E.N.S.W.B.L has to offer. Repetitive, punchy verses and a small curation of melodies that are driven home purposefully in a similar vein to 2013’s My Number. On The Luna will find its feet as one of this summer’s indie anthems *queue the title sequence for BBC’s Glastonbury 2019 coverage*.
Everything Not Saved Wil Be Lost Pt.I is not an intimate record. Throughout this release, Foals continue their love affair with vast, expansive tracks bookended with heavy and hooky choruses. Far from this being a weakness, the group’s uncontainable sound is only celebrated and accentuated with layered vocals that sound predisposed for festival sludge and arena moshpits.
This vastness is only compromised with the album’s tenth and final track, ‘I’m Done With The World (And It’s Done With Me)’. This single harks back to an English romanticism that wouldn’t be out of place in a Morrissey track; accentuating mundane surroundings with a sentimental lense.
Following the group’s last campaign, frontman Yannis spent some time in a Greek monastery, returning to the UK with a kind of distanced observation of the western world. I’m Done With The World.. manifests this perfectly, with opening line ‘The fox is dead in the garden, the hedges are on fire on the country lanes and all I want to do is get out of the rain.”
Foals aren’t generally a group who indulge in morose introspection, and the intimate delivery of this track is even more out of character. And This tender U-turn in sound leaves part one of this double album ending with a much more enticing cliff-hanger than even the band themselves had intended…
Foals’ Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1 is released this Friday, March 8th via Warner Records and is available to pre-order now.
Words by Matt Ganfield