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Album review: Foals’ Holy Fire

The Oxford five-piece muster the big guns in their new album

  • By Kitty Empire, Guardian News & Media Ltd
  • Published: 20:00 February 18, 2013
  • Tabloid

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Somehow, “clever” Alt-J have ended up with a Mercury prize while contrary, passionate Foals find themselves on their third album, trying to sound big rather than clever. The producers tasked with reaching the back of the arena are Flood and Alan Moulder, famed tailors of extra-large moodiness for stadium clients like Smashing Pumpkins. On Inhaler, the Oxford five-piece grab some juddering low-end from heavy rock, while the ambitious ’80s pop of My Number boasts a nagging eastern-tinged guitar motif. Arpeggiating here, pizzicatoing there, funking out confidently; Foals remain the antithesis of a foursquare indie rock band. And yet nothing here is quite holy enough, or quite fiery enough, to live up to the album’s billing.

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