The second album is always the hardest, it's the follow up. There is a certain amount of pressure from critics and a dedicated fan base, that if alienated could destroy the band. The second album is the killer, the point of no return. Debut's showcase a band, they bring them to light. Follow ups need to keep what was loved from the debut, but expand and change the direction slightly. Foals do this perfectly.
Total Life Forever has such a drastic change in sound from Foal's debut, Antidotes. The first thing you notice is the attention to detail, everything is perfected.Blue Blood is such a melancholy start to an album, contrasting guitar notes put the vocals in place, before the steady soft drum beat takes hold along with the bass. The use of reverb on the vocals are noticeable with a clear listen. 90 seconds in is where the song takes the next step, keeping the melancholy, soft eerie touch, the drums explode with the bass in creating a perfect poppy song, with a delightful build up leading to the Math Rock ending.
Miami is such a good track, instantly likable, you know how the song will progress. The killer part to this track is the chorus, which just echoes along. The jam like song structure just forces the chorus on. With again, a brilliant vocal effort.
The self titled track starts much alike Miami, but descends into a low bass driven hard hitting song. It has a weak song structure, but the lyrics flow very well, and the drum work is better than average. The song never really takes off, but it has it's place.
Black Gold carries on the melancholy feel. With the repeated lyrics of 'Top of the world, bottom of the ocean' being used progressively. the small Ambient like chorus is hardly a usual Foals chorus, but it's different. Then starts the major build up, one of the best build ups and endings I've heard in a very long time. It explodes around the 5 minute mark into Guitar solo's as it slowly falls apart and comes to a Post-Rock like end.
Spanish Sahara was released prior, i heard it on release accidentally listening to Radio 1. I was glad, because i enjoyed it, and expected a fantastic second album. This song is a build up song. It's focus is a bass riff, slowly followed by drums trickling on. Vocals being a highlight, this is a different side to Yannis. 2 minutes in, the weak inspirations of Math Rock take over the track, this is the mid point before the song blossoms. It's mellow, the song explodes much alike Black Gold but with a better focus on the harmonies at the end. Foals manage to make these songs worthy, they don't just build up for no reason, the endings are fantastic. They don't fall short of expectation.
This Orient was released as the single, it's far more poppy than the others, it's driven by a strong drum beat and a guitar riff that's very likable. The chorus is very catchy, again the song is extremely mellow. The chorus being the highlight to this song.
Fugue is a simple piano based Ambient like song, that splits the album in two, it leads into After Glow. Which doesn't fall short from the rest of the album, it still stays strong. with a more harmonic outlook. It has a better and faster, more indie Rock like beat, this is seen during the later part of the song where everything is taken up a notch.
Alabaster is one of the slower, guitar driven tracks. The ambient like atmospheric track has a frightening drum beat nearer to the end. This track is the cool down track, i can see it being extremely intimate during live performances.
2 Trees follows on the mellow eerie feel, the song isn't that special, compared to the rest of the album that is. The reverbed guitar has a great effect on the ears.
The album finishes with What Remains, much alike Blue Blood in style, this is far more Math Rock like than an other song on the album. The trickling guitars throughout make Bell like noises. it kicks in, with a vigorous Bass riff, this is a strong end to a very strong album. None of the songs are exceptionally weak, the majority are very strong and relaxing. This is my Album of The Year for 2010, it stands out from the rest in terms of pure musicianship and talent. The attention to detail and production are above my expectations. Miami being my favourite song from the album.