Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow
There is much to admire about a band as unlikely as Foals, and their elevation to ‘next big thing’ status remains, simultaneously, a delight and a head scratcher.
While others may trawl similar musical territory for inspiration, none of them manage to turn raw materials that extend from Krautrock to post-punk via. hardcore, into something both memorable and adored by 16 year olds. The relative youth of band and audience can obscure a complexity and intelligence in the music, which sounds like Big Flame as produced by Xenomania.
This jerky, rhythmic and intense recipe could produce cold and unappealing results, but it does not account for their ability to come up with memorable lines – both musically and lyrically – that make so many of the songs on their debut album, Antidotes, a triumph. ‘The French Open’ and current single, ‘Cassius,’ are cases in point: accessible enough to just about appease Bloc Party or even Placebo fans, while still satisfying those who crave something more artful. The sheer energy of the relatively brief performance is equally endearing, and there is none of the stand-off cool that frequently translates as tedium.
Nevertheless, Foals’ ascent may be down to their conformity with other aspects of the currently depressingly homogeneous British “indie” scene: they are, after all, blokes with guitars and good haircuts, and their music, seems almost entirely bereft of any non-Caucasian influences.
Though they have hit on a relatively unique sound and made a vibrant, refreshing album it is proper to question how much further it can be stretched given its limited sources.
While well ahead of their contemporaries at this stage, the real challenge might be keeping up with themselves and fending off the challenges to their creativity in the wake of inevitable commercial success.