Out of the Woods
Milk & Black Spiders
Foals are now finding ways to incorporate classic rock moves into their forward-thinking music. Oxford, England's most formidable band has scaled back the earlier elements of dance pop and math-rock. Techno isn't Foals' style, but it's a way to reach their instrumental goals. The high atmospherics featured throughout this third album—2013's Holy Fire—are just fancy ways of getting to the same heart of the matter that bands from U2 to The Shins have been mining since day one. The heavy, difficult, and oblique rock moves of Foals' past have been simplified with emotional outbursts that are pure catharsis ("Late Night"). "Inhaler," the album's first single, starts with guitars nicked from Pink Floyd's The Wall before taking off with a Mick Jagger–like falsetto. "Providence" pushes on a brutal funk where Jimi Hendrix seems to lurk. "Stepson" sings like a cry in the lonesome wilderness. "Moon" ends with the world tucked asleep as guitars and keyboards twinkle into the night sky. It's quite an achievement.