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Album review: Foals 'What Went Down'

James Clarke takes aim at Foals fourth instalment 'What Went Down' and what the future holds for the band.

Ben Smith

Last updated: 1st Sep 2015

Image: Foals

Exploding on to the scene in 2008 with cult classic album Antidotes, Foals could have been at risk of being on one of those doomed for compilation albums featuring bands who might have been. 

However with each passing album, they have shown they’re destined for bigger and better things. And their fourth instalment, What Went Down showcases this through belly rumbling rock riffs whilst still channelling their electro-synth roots. 

The first single and the albums namesake is a signal of intent. Yannis’ eerily scream of "I buried my heart in a hole in the ground" over the backdrop of a single synth note signals the calm before the storm - a heavy gut thumping storm.

Once the amps are turned up to 10 and Yannis’ borderline maniacal screams of "when I see a liar" comes in, it leaves you asking whether this could be one of the best rock n roll songs of 2015? 

Next up is ‘Mountains At My Gates’. The intro seems like it’s been slightly lifted from 'Inhaler' off their third album Holy Fire, however as the fret board tickling, funky guitar kicks in, it reminds you just what the Foals are all about.

‘Birch Wood’ and ‘Nightswimmers’ all follow in the same rich hallucinogenic vein, whilst ‘Give It All’ and ‘London Thunder’ offer the band to take reflection and slow things down with light keyboard instrumentals.

The almost hypnotic keyboards and drum beat in ‘Albatross’ sees the album take it up a notch again, while ‘Snake Oil’ sees a return to Foals ferocious best. The central guitar riff sounds like the band decided to inject steroids into it, with the sole intent of outmuscling every household and stadium sound system in its path.

Yannis, whose not exactly known for holding back with what he thinks, recently claimed the band had hit a ‘glass ceiling’ on the festival tour. He criticised the lack of new blood topping the bill, whilst the golden oldies were still allowed to bask in their former glory.

However, with releases such as this, a future festival headline shot, you’d hope, should be around the corner. They certainly have the back catalogue to prevail, and their fierce live reputation could see the break through that glass ceiling.  

Read: Foals announce UK tour