Album reviews: Foals pick up pieces in second part of two-album release; Kim Gordon retraces roots in No Home Record

Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2 is the sixth studio album by British band Foals.
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2 is the sixth studio album by British band Foals.PHOTO: WARNER/TRANSGRESSIVE

ALTERNATIVE ROCK

EVERYTHING NOT SAVED WILL BE LOST - PART 2

Foals

Warner/Transgressive

4 stars

EXPERIMENTAL ROCK

NO HOME RECORD

Kim Gordon

Matador

4 stars


British band Foals (from left) Jack Bevan, Yannis Philippakis, Jimmy Smith and Edwin Congreave. PHOTO: FOALS/INSTAGRAM

Double albums are not dead - they are just packaged differently in the current music climate.

Like fellow British band The 1975, the newest batch of songs by Oxford quartet Foals were split into two releases. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 2 comes half a year after its predecessor.

If the first part is an exhilarating dance-punk romp heralding a planet-wide calamity, the sequel features fantastic guitar-led rockers that aim to pick up the pieces post-catastrophe.

"Oh, when I fall down, fall down / Then I know to keep on running," firebrand frontman Yannis Philippakis sings defiantly in The Runner, a groovy number anchored by thick, fuzzy guitar riffs.


No Home Record, the debut solo record from US alternative rock veteran and former Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon. PHOTO: MATADOR RECORDS

Wash Off is an upbeat, life-affirming ode to endurance and grit ("Stop the clocks, pull up your socks / Go find a fountain to wash it off"), while Like Lightning and Black Bull are self-assured stompers that bring to mind Philippakis' often reckless and rowdy on-stage antics.

The swagger in the first half is balanced by the more pensive tunes in the rest of the album. Ikaria and 10,000 Feet ("When I fall through the air, flew too close to the sun / With my wings all bound and twisted into one") tap into the mythology of Icarus, perhaps a nod to the singer's half-Greek ancestry.

Album closer Neptune is a 10-minute cosmic jam, a departure to the final destination after the apocalypse ("So come on, row me away / On black rivers and rainbows to Neptune / Where I can stay").

On the contrary, No Home Record, the first solo album by ex-Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon, is a home-coming of sorts.


No Home Record, the debut solo record from US alternative rock veteran and former Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon. PHOTO: MATADOR RECORDS

While the alternative rock doyenne's former band was based in New York, the new album sees her returning to her city of birth, Los Angeles.

A collaboration with producer Justin Raisen, known for his work with acts ranging from indie singer Angel Olsen and pop artist Charli XCX, Gordon went back to her pre-Sonic Youth style of creating.

Armed with clamorous guitars, a drum machine and loads of experimental derring-do, the album is as compelling as it is chaotic.

Over minimalist basslines and guitars, Air BnB (Gordon ended up recording with Raisen after they met at a lodging rented via the online service) is a caustic take on consumerism, while Paprika Pony's gamelan-like notes are punctuated by what sound like smartphone notifications.

Industrial rock rhythms drive tracks like Murdered Out, while the murky samples of Don't Play It underscore Gordon's musings on identity in an age where everything is recorded ("Don't play it back... Mistakes are made, do they even go away").

There is a tinge of regret in songs like Earthquake ("If I could cry and shake for you / I'd lay awake for you / I got sand in my heart for you"), but the subtle inclusion of melody in otherwise dirge-like tracks such as Sketch Artist and Hungry Baby make for an intriguing listen.