11 February 2013
The third full length release from Oxford artists, Foals, is nothing short of amazing, as to be expected. Coming after their sophomore-slump-defying Total Life Forever, this gem left much to be anticipated. Upon its opener “Prelude” appears the obvious notion that this third record will take listeners somewhere magical.
The first noticeable element of the record is its eclectic sound. On “Inhaler” a spread of what ever so subtly resembles a bluesy guitar transitions later to a wildly intense hard rocking. As this piece instantaneously cools off, the next track breaks into the adorably dancy and sassy “My Number.” Next appears the softened, soothing “Bad Habit.” Resurfacing their math rock roots, this passionately gorgeous track sings “So I won’t let the flowers grow into the deep below. Oh, would you forget me now? And if I could make the days of pain wash the stains away. Oh, would you forget me now?” Begging for a sort of mercy, this track sends Holy Fire into emotional overload. Fast paced percussion and rough guitar form an interesting mix against gentle harmonization on “Everytime,” which opens like a high speed car chase. Vocals drift across the record into heart-crushing drums on “Milk & Black Spider” before getting a bit bluesy again on “Providence.” Towards the end “Stepson” breaks hearts with vocals alone. A simple, yet desperate track slowly bursts into a beautiful arrangement of backing vocal harmonies to wind the album down to its final moments.
Certainly apparent on this record is the number of mind bending explosions that are ever so important to any true enamor of song. While most are subtle and hidden within layers of both instrumental and vocal bliss, the record as a whole takes listeners along a pleasant roller-coaster of sounds. Fully enjoyable from start to finish, Holy Fire can already be argued as one of the best albums to be seen in 2013.