Album Notes - Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 2

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I have never been quite sure what to make of Foals and their career. Antidotes, their 2008 debut, showed immense promise and was followed two years later by the even better Total Life Forever. The young Foals appeared to be maturing right in front of our ears and on the fast track to stardom following Holy Fire, a worthy third effort. Today "Inhaler" and the year 2013 feel like a lifetime ago, as the band’s two most recent efforts left much to be desired. 2015’s What Went Down is aptly named, if meant to describe the quality of their output, although I imagine their intent for the title differs from my snide interpretation.    

Four years passed, along came 2019, and the promise of not one but two new albums. That the first, easily the worst of their career, contained “Part 1” in its title may partly explain my positive response to Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost- Part 2. The absence of high expectations prevent a pall from being cast. It is undoubtedly a Foals record containing all the hallmarks of their now built-in sound: the choppy staccato guitar riffs; the extremely British pronunciation of certain lyrics; the overall feeling that they want to be a prog rock band but never learned to write tunes outside of 4/4; the fact that the finest song comes very early on. It is also the best thing they've done in years, otherwise I wouldn't be writing about it.

Yet when the album ends, I still don’t know what to think of the UK rockers.

I could again draw my own conclusions that the title, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, signifies a certain self-awareness regarding the current state of their career. While the foursome would undoubtedly disagree, at this point even their fanbase is probably wishing that a band that seems to take itself so seriously would at least loosen the reins a little. Still, four out of six isn't bad and this one rocks. Maybe I'm just looking a gift horse in the mouth.


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