Blend of sounds to deal with world's woes

English band Foals comprise (clockwise, from left) Jimmy Smith, Jack Bevan, Edwin Congreave and Yannis Philippakis.
English band Foals comprise (clockwise, from left) Jimmy Smith, Jack Bevan, Edwin Congreave and Yannis Philippakis. PHOTO: ALEX KNOWLES

As can be surmised from the album title - a warning familiar to video game players or word processor users - English band Foals are anxious about the world heading into a downward spiral.

And if the ship is going down, the band are adamant that we all do it on our feet, dancing to euphoric beats and synths while rocking out to arena-sized anthems.

The first of a two-part album - the second is expected to be out in September - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 1 is ambitious in its musicality.

One of this year's most exhilarating indie rock releases to date, the album sees the band execute a seamless blend of sounds that they have explored in their last four albums, from Antidotes (2008) to What Went Down (2015).

This despite being down by one man after the amicable departure of bass player Walter Gervers last year.

On The Luna shines with its angular guitar riffs and odd-time signatures, a nod to the band's math-rock past. Originally titled End Of Days, frontman Yannis Philippakis pleads for salvation: "Agitator, extricator, won't you come evacuator?/ Infiltrator, hesitator, won't you come emancipator?"

In Degrees, which Philippakis has admitted to being "the most dance thing" they have done, is a total club banger, with a driving four-on-the-floor beat.



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"I lose you in degrees/ Don't leave me on my knees," the singer laments in the singalong chorus, a statement that alludes to both fraying relationships and the threat of climate change.

The shimmering yet laid-back vibes of Sunday give way to a euphoric rave three-quarters into the tune, juxtaposed against lyrics depicting a pre-apocalyptic landscape ("And time has come and time is done/Cities burn, we don't give a damn/'Cause we got all our friends right here/We got youth to spend").

Philippakis lays it out bare in I'm Done With The World (& It's Done With Me), a reverb-laden piano ballad in which he is searching for a way out ("All I wanna do is get up and leave").

And while Exits, the synth-heavy lead single, swaggers with purpose, the frenetic pace of White Onions shows that the band can still rile the crowd up with guitar-led jams.

Gervers' absence notwithstanding, Syrups powers through with a solid, funk bass line played by Philippakis, a contrast to the odd rhythms from the marimba, xylophone and vibraphones played on Cafe D'Athens.

An indie rock album this multifarious whets the appetite for what is to come in the sequel.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2019, with the headline 'Blend of sounds to deal with world's woes'. Subscribe