Foals What Went Down Listening Party

Foals has been making music for over a decade. The British rock band has made a living from mixing grungy blasts of fuzzed over guitar and cathedral-reverbed lead lines. The band’s lyrics jump from hook-filled emotion and texturing repetitions. Foals brings into their songs whatever they find interesting and so have a sound both expansive and intimate. If the 11 minute album preview of their latest is accurate, then What Went Down will be as gruesome in its beauty as their previous releases.

To celebrate What Went Down‘s release, Mills Record Company will be hosting a listening party on Friday. In addition to being able to check out Foals’ new album (and all the other albums released this Friday), there will be free posters for people who buy an album and perhaps some other secret goodies if their mysterious, geocache-esque longitude/latitude coordinate Facebook posts mean anything in the states.

Secret stuff or not, What Went Down, judging by the album sampler and the four released singles, seems to be an all encompassing and absolutely crushing collection of songs. Jumping from an ethereal and slow to the dark and ominous, to quick and light, Foals, in a way, continues along the same trajectory that their previous albums hinted. That said, the band doesn’t contentedly rehash the same formulas but push their established sound a little further.

The album’s title track was the first single. “What Went Down” is tense and electric. Its layers create a swell of paranoia that is compounded by the songs lyrics. Giving off a feel that is part sludge-y driving rock and part post-whatever texture, “What Went Down” occupies a space that is simultaneously catchy and foreboding–a combination that makes the hairs on the back of the neck raise.

The second single, “Mountain At My Gates,” leaves behind the aforementioned foreboding for a jangly indie pop feel. The song’s guitar riffs are undeniably funky with their fractured, high-fret noodling, and its drums keep pace well with a piano lead that is all but saccharine. Despite all that, “Mountain At My Gates” has some bite behind its sweetness. The vocals throughout the song add a brooding gruffness to the song’s tone, and the final crescendo pushes the song from a fun indie pop sound to an almost apocalyptic climax.

“A Knife In The Ocean” has a largeness to it. The song reverberates through its verses like voice tunneling through a cave, and its choruses increases this scale. “A Knife In The Ocean” expands and expands before reaching a critical point where all its textures coalesce into a soundscape that envelopes its listener. “A Knife In The Ocean” is one of those songs that washes over its listeners, leaving them in the wake of its own unfolding.

“London Thunder” (released today) is slower and more straightforwardly beautiful. Sounding like Antlers or Radiohead on this track, Foals shows another dimension to their aesthetic–a calm and almost melancholy feel. “London Thunder” offers a nice counterpoint to the above songs, promising an album that hits a variety of notes as it moves from start to finish.

If these songs accurately model the album as a whole, What Went Down is sure to be one of the best albums of the year. So stop by Mills Record Company this Friday to hear it in its entirety, to get a free poster with purchase, and to peruse some of the other records released that day. The listening party starts at 5pm, is all ages, and is totally free.

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