And you thought dancepunk had seen all the combinations and crossbreeding you could think of. Well think again, Junior. Oxford England's Foals have stepped onto the scene with their mathrock/dancepunk tendencies and changed things up enough to be noticed. I have a feeling I won't enjoy this sound forever, but for now it reminds me of the first time I listened to The Faint. I love these fast pace dance tunes, the snotty British slang vocals and the intricate mathrock guitar plucking that make up their musical pallet. Foals conjure up the image of listening to Minus The Bear covering Bloc Party, complete with spacey synth progressions and high-hat riding (backed by an Oingo-Boingo sounding horn section in some parts).
Saying these guys are mathrock/dancepunk is a bit of a stretch. Sure, they include a tendency for both in the music they create, but it's not the usual style of either. Similar to Battles, Foals use mathrock as a steppingstone in creating their own, more complicated sound. Layer that on top of the usual dancepunk trends over the past five years in the music scene and you've got one heck of a great start. The futuristic, snotty britpunk band named after baby horses (or perhaps the dialect/slang way of pronouncing the word "fools"?) But fools they are not.
The Sub Pop one-sheet has told me the band traveled from the UK to Brooklyn last June to record this with David Sitek (of TVOTR) who lined up a special appearance by the horn section of Antibalas to play on a few tracks. They wanted to work in a place and with a person who would shake up the sounds they were used to making. Sitek has been quoted, telling the band "If you want to make a commercial record then don't work with me." Seems to me that only part of that statement/warning came true because the band did work with David Sitek and this album has plenty o' commercial appeal (in the good way).
On the first spin, two tracks stand out. "Cassius" has a catchy, repetitive chorus that gets drilled into your head over fun guitar plucking. The dance beat and driving bassline deliver it to your front door with a smile. More of those Antibalas horns appear on this song, giving the song a little more flare.
The second, quick-paced song that stands out is "Balloons." Which features all the elements I mentioned in the first song, but in a different order. Heck, I think it's safe to say all the songs here have all those things (except the guest horn section).
Foals have labored over a perfect dancepunk album for the next generation of dancing punks. Be prepared, America... It looks like the Redcoats are once again coming to do battle and this time they're using our own power of mathrock against us.