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Foals’ third album is a record that bursts out of the speakers and demands to be loved. You will have already heard ‘Inhaler’, a shimmying slow-build with a neat Yannis falsetto that suddenly and unexpectedly blows ‘Holy Fire’ into the stratosphere, and crackles as the embers settle. If you like it when Foals show their teeth, ‘Providence’ is another track that’ll lodge itself in the Most Played page of your iTunes. Rhythmically pugilistic and heavy as all hell, it’s easily the loudest and most obscene Yannis and drummer Jack Bevan – the most overlooked weapon in Foals’ arsenal – have sounded since they were knocking down walls at Oxford house parties as members of The Edmund Fitzgerald.
Though these isolated bursts of energy are the most immediately striking moments on ‘Holy Fire’, it’s the way that the album as a whole unravels and blooms through repeat listens that marks it as Foals’ finest moment to date. In a recent feature, Yannis told NME, “There’s definitely oxygen going to the brain, but we’re not over-analysing things… we wanted to make a greedy record.”
So, Foals. Artsy. Difficult. Oblique. But no longer. ‘Holy Fire’ brings new words to mind. Sharp. Emotive. Massive. It’s the album ‘Total Life Forever’ could have been before the over-analysing got in the way. As Yannis put it recently: “There was a Woody Allen in our brain that needed to be killed. He got killed.” ‘Holy Fire’ is that assassin, and the terminal blow is exacted with clean precision. Woody didn’t stand a chance. -NME