It’s been a few days now since Foals released Exits, the first single from their upcoming fifth and sixth albums to be unleashed for our listening pleasure. If you’re a Foals fan and you haven’t yet heard it, I implore you to climb out from the rock you’ve been living under and listen to it before reading any further. Maybe two or three times. If you’re less familiar with Foals, the same still applies, except perhaps for the whole living under a rock thing.

Done? Let’s move on. Time is of the essence: the Oxford rockers are back and I couldn’t be more excited.

Upon first listen, I was a little disappointed. I was sure other songs might be better, but there was nothing about Exits that thrilled me. Its sound didn’t seem new, yet it simultaneously lacked the familiar ferocity of other Foals songs. Had it descended into chaos, as Mountain At My Gates does, my instant desires would have been fulfilled. More energy, more Yannis screaming down the microphone and Jack Bevan hammering on the cymbals; more of the Foals that I’m accustomed to hearing.

But Foals are better than that. They’re always seeking new ways to stay fresh, and the evolving sounds of all four previous albums is a testament to that. In many ways, there’s no natural progression for Foals because they always defy that, never following the direction that’s expected of them when they’re writing new music. Exits has a style of its own, a more relaxed sound that’s somehow equally as intense as their more energetic songs, if not more.

When I heard Yannis explain that the first of the two upcoming albums has more of a “new wave” feel, whilst a heavier, more rock-driven energy can be found on the second album, this provided me with a stark reminder that Foals can always be trusted in the pilot’s seat. Their energy hasn’t been lost at all, they’re simply delivering it in a new way. This isn’t only seen in the choice to release two twinned albums — itself a different method of delivery — but it’s also found in Exits itself. The song’s intensity comes not from roaring riffs and crashing drums; it comes in a more calculated way — one that ultimately makes the song more powerful and mature. On every listen more of its layers are revealed: a sure sign of a great song.

Foals can always be trusted to stay fresh; from listening to their interviews, it’s clear this is something they crave. We’ll find out the destination in good time; all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Categories: Arts and Culture

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