Remembering a classic: Foals 'Antidotes'

We revisit Foals' path to glory and their debut album 'Antidotes'.

Ben Smith

Last updated: 10th Dec 2018

Image: Foals 

While Foals album fever continues to heighten with the news that studio release number six is arriving sometime in 2019, we must remember a beautiful period in our teenage years. More specifically when Yannis and co meddled wondrously with boundary pushing math-rock to stockpile indie clubnights with the gift that was Antidotes

At the time of its release, most of you were probably blagging it with your cousins I.D, deep house was strictly underground and 'Cassius' was an indie floor-filler only rivalled by Arctic Monkeys and The Sunshine Underground. Indie music's stock was high and Foals profited immensely from the gold rush. 

Antidotes, Foals quite brilliant introduction to the world, still resonates as the best for many Foals die hards. And what's even more remarkable is that despite the Sonic Youth t-shirt clad scene succumbing to the notion of trend, Foals have emerged immensely from the crash of the genre into a formidable outfit, surfacing album to album with something different. 

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You'll have seen it with the expansive sound of Total Life Forever and then Holy Fire, and now it's happened again. We've not even listened to the bulk of the new record, yet the snippet of title track 'What Went Down' has caught us all off guard, instigating another "where the fuck did that come from?" moment.

No matter how often Foals have continued to evolve and innovate to remain prominent within today's musical landscape, it's merely impossible to not listen to Antidotes and have a web of pulsing angular guitar rhythms imprinted on the brain for hours after.

It's a nostalgic trip to the good times when bands like This Town Needs Guns and Battles buzzed your Myspace page and Foals were a bunch of Oxford lads metaphorically speaking in terms of Roman emperors and aviaries.

Upon production, credit must go to Foals at the time for omitting early singles 'Hummer' and 'Mathletics' from the album. It signaled their desire to innovate and bring something new to the table. In the lead up to the record these songs were the key pieces of ingenuity that set the hype for the band, yet they felt they needed to communicate something new on the album. It was a calculated risk that undoubtedly worked.

They even went as far as scrapping Dave Sitek's mix of the record, an integral member of TV On the Radio who perhaps knew a thing or two more than a clan of University drop-outs looking to muster up a debut album.      

Not Foals though, the band weren't happy with the final product, complaining that it sounded like it was "recorded in the Grand Canyon". Once again proving it is their creative ideals that's seen them to where they stand now.

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They decided to mix it themselves and produce it in London. The result? One of the debut albums of the decade that provided the foundations to where they currently lie: sitting on a fourth record that's stirred up more dust in two songs than just about any album released this year. (At the time of writing) 

Although it feels like we've been waiting a life time for What Went Down to finally emerge from the shadows, when it finally does, while we'll indefinitely scoop the honey pot of a further juncture in Foals' blossoming journey, we must not forget the album that propelled the path.

From the drone of 'The French Open' that bursts into shouts of "Un peu d'air sur la terre" - a hook inspired by a french tennis slogan -  to the frenetic beast that is 'Cassius', the opening four songs of that album (The French Open/Cassius/Red Socks Pugie/Olympic Airways) is an unforgettable stretch. This goes without mention of numbers like 'Balloons', 'Two Steps, Twice'  (above) and the later added bonus tracks.

Antidotes is not only an indie relic but an immensely crafted record that remains integral to the Foals storyboard and their current reign.

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