Foals
Antidotes-(Special Edition)
Label ©  Transgressive
Release Year  2008
Length  1:00:47
Genre  Post-Punk
Personal Star Rating [1-5]  
  Ref#  F-0099
Bitrate  ~198 Kbps
  Other  
  Info  
    Track Listing:
      CD1:
      1.  
      The French Open  
       3:45  
      2.  
      Cassius  
       3:49  
      3.  
      Red Socks Pugie  
       5:12  
      4.  
      Olympic Airways  
       4:18  
      5.  
      Electric Bloom  
       4:54  
      6.  
      Balloons  
       3:01  
      7.  
      Heavy Water  
       4:32  
      8.  
      Two Steps Twice  
       4:39  
      9.  
      Big Big Love (Fig.2)  
       5:47  
      10.  
      Like Swinning  
       1:58  
      11.  
      Tron  
       4:53  
      CD2:
      1.  
      Hummer  
       2:58  
      2.  
      Astronauts 'N All  
       3:10  
      3.  
      Mathletics  
       3:10  
      4.  
      Big Big Love (Fig 1)  
       4:41  
    Additional info: | top
      It's hardly the cure for anything but Antidotes, the debut album from Oxford's Foals, is a strong addition to the eternal tradition of dance-friendly art rock most recently exemplified by Franz Ferdinand and Klaxons. The five ex-public schoolboys that make up Oxford's Foals are hardly lacking self-confidence--comically cocky frontman Yannis Phillipakis could annoy for the nation and the band rejected producer David Sitek's original mix--but Antidotes is anything but pony. After spending their youth in rigorous "math rock" outfits, Foals started out in 2005 with the stated intention of having fun. Rather delightfully, this amounted to the discovery that audiences are well disposed to acts they can dance to. A clutch of well-received singles and a guest spot on popular sixth-form satire Skins sealed their popularity. Their origins in academic rock are sometimes obvious, but fine drummer Jack Bevan keeps things moving throughout. Opener "The French Open", with its gleeful chanted vocals (in French) and fashionable Afrobeat tinged guitar lines, evokes Talking Heads' dada nonsense classic "I Zimbra", itself older than any Foal. First top thirty hit "Cassius" saw jazz-punk back in the charts for the first time since that perennial football crowd favourite "Papa's Got a Brand New Pigbag". "Olympic Airways" is a charming if oblique tale of escape that couldn't be further from the bus stop/chip shop style while "Red Socks Pugie" already sounds like a single in waiting. The lyrics might charitably be described as impressionistic and Phillipakis's voice remains nondescript. But with better tunes than Bloc Party and a self-conscious precision that recalls Mogwai in their pomp, the effortlessly pretentious Foals are unmistakably the sound of 2008. --Steve Jelbert

      Review by Marisa Brown

      Although Oxford, England's Foals didn't release their debut full-length, Antidotes, until the spring of 2008, they had already begun to make quite a name for themselves, thanks to the British singles "Hummer" and "Mathletics" and successful dates in the U.S. the preceding fall; meaning, of course, that the anticipation for the record had plenty of time to grow. Fortunately, Antidotes is able to live up to the hype. Frontman Yannis Philippakis uses his limited vocal range to his greatest advantage, moving from yelps to half-whispered singing depending on the intensity of the piece. In fact, the one drawback of the album may be that Foals have only two types of songs: the fast(er), punchy ones and the slow(er) spacier ones. For bands whose sense of songcraft isn't strong, this would certainly be a detriment, but as Foals keep melody and hookiness at the forefront of their minds, the fact that much of their work sounds very similar (and is all practically in the same key) just adds a sense of cohesion to the record, shows that the group has a very clear idea of what it wants to sound like. This sureness can also probably explain the band's dislike of producer Dave Sitek's final mix, which differed from what they had imagined (and therefore prompted their own mixing of it, and the one they ultimately released). But Sitek should be credited for introducing at least the saxophones, if not the more ambient keyboards and occasional electronic element, to the Foals' arrangements, which end up working quite well and prevent the tracks from completely bleeding into one another, also allowing for the band's instrumental sections to play out in an interesting groove, like during the very NOMO-ish "Like Swimming" or the close of "Heavy Water." The two guitars pick out cascading notes -- never chords -- against one another, the bass borrows from both Interpol and Gang of Four, and Philippakis's voice cries out in repetition wonderfully, but it's these occasional horn bursts, the electronic chops and blips, that truly complete the songs, making Antidotes not merely a lesson in post-new wave noodling, but evidence of the power and excitement of the genre and music itself. [A Japanese edition was also released.]
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