Foals - Yannis, Jack, Jimmy, Walter, and Edwin – have without doubt become something of a British institution since forming in 2005.
They’ve played on practically every continent and graced many Album Of The Year lists. Following on from their mind-blowing set at Cornwall’s Eden Project just a few days ago, Foals prepare to descend upon Victoria Park, as the Oxford lads bring their mammoth live show to Citadel.
With the band hinting at some golden rarities being played for their headline set, here’s a run through the essentials so far...
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After their appearance in a Secret Skins Party episode in 2007 - which the quintet sound-tracked with single ‘Hummer’ – debut album ‘Antidotes’ wasn’t far behind. Massively influenced by experimental bands Battles, Talking Heads, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor the debut was a combination of erratic math rock and bold choruses infused with an electrical charge of energy that immediately translated to the stage.
Unconventional not only in regards to sound, but the locations they recorded in (such as an alleyway, for example) it gave us some of their most idolised tracks in the form of ‘Balloons’, ‘Cassius’ and ‘Red Socks Pugie’.
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'Total Life Forever' (2010)
Coming fully into their own, ‘Total Life Forever’ echoed a sharp turning point for Foals. A complete diversion from everything we knew the album showed developments with exploration into vaster soundscapes, grander atmospherics, and had at its core a heavy dose of emotive lyricism. An attribute echoed immediately in album opener ‘Blue Blood’, as well as ‘Spanish Sahara’.
Not feeling very satisfied with Paul Epworth’s stylings early on, Yannis and co. grasped the creative reigns and dropped the multi-award winning producer sharply for Luke Smith instead. Obviously it was the right move, as it brought them their first ever Mercury Prize nomination.
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'Holy Fire' (2013)
Returning after a much deserved break and having carefully selected producers Flood and Moulder on the premise that “they didn’t fuck with their shit”, Foals’ third serving broadcasted a more uninhibited sound and featured songs that were made to be played in stadiums. Still their highest ranking album to date it reached No.2 in the UK Album Charts, gave them their first No.1 in Australia, and gained them a consecutive Mercury nomination.
Due to Yannis’ obsession with the sonic quality of bees, they can be heard throughout the album specifically on ‘Prelude’, ‘Milk And Black Spiders’, and ‘Moon’. ‘Holy Fire’ pushed them to festival headline status, as they closed out Latitude 2013 on the main stage in a powerful manner.
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'What Went Down' (2015)
With gargantuan riffs in tow and a fiercely heavier sound, ‘What Went Down’ took them to rockier realms and lead them on a national arena tour for 2016. They took to the stage of Wembley Arena with massive production, fully commanding every inch of it.
Whilst songs such as the album title, ‘Snake Oil’ and ‘A Knife In The Ocean’ glowed climatically, at points it felt like they had settled with a formula they know works. However the instrumental efforts put into this album nevertheless is something to be admired.
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Words: Lois Browne
Citadel Festival takes place on July 16th in Victoria Park, London.