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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

108 Ratings

Best Band Around

De pwn550,

When I think of groups like The Police or Incubus or Rush I think of bands that have staying power. The ability to write songs with depth. Foals is a band that will be with us for awhile. I saw them live four times on the Holy Water tour and it just kept getting better. I’m completely excited for the rest of this album.

A brilliant addition to the Foals collection


Foals has been my favorite band ever since I first heard Hummer on a Pandora station in 2010, and they’ve never failed to surprise me with their new albums. What Went Down continues the bands evolution towards a harder, heavy rock sound than the alternative, jumpy, and math rock feel of Antidotes, and parts of Total Life Forever.

The album kicks off with the explosive What Went Down, and is immediately followed by the more mellow and melodic sounds of Mountain At My Gates, which is a good thing, because 2 songs with the pace and power of What Went Down in a row would have you wanting to punch holes through walls or throw chairs in coffee shops just to incite a riot.

Birch Tree is the beginning of the album’s lyric centric middle, where Yannis explores different sound ranges, all while sticking to a central and poetic theme that I’ll let you discover when you listen to the whole album.

Give It All and Albatross have a similar build up to Mountain At My Gates, followed by the biting and slightly animalistic tones of Snake Oil. Night Swimmers is a brilliantly blended song that, to me, is the epitome of the bands evolution, encompassing both an alternative sound at the beginning that builds into a powerful guitar riff typical of heavier rock towards the end.

London Thunder keeps a steady pace and feel throughout it’s entire 4:14 runtime, and Lonely Hunter builds into a stronger chorus in a delightfully parabolic motion. This album is rounded off by the slow burner that I’ve come to love from Foals. A Knife In the Ocean has a far less anxious build up than Spanish Sahara because of it’s heavier and scaled guitar riffs, but it’s equally as satisfying.

All in all, this album is an easy 10/10. It’s as good as alternative and rock gets these days. Foals has done it again, and I couldn’t be happier. Well done boys, well done.

About Foals

Formed in Oxford, England, by longtime friends Yannis Philippakis (guitar) and Jack Bevan (drums), along with Andrew Mears on vocals, guitarist Jimmy Smith, and bassist Walter Gervers, Foals -- whose name is a play on the etymology of Philippakis' name -- began as a way to protest against the proggier sounds that were both popular in Oxford and in Philippakis and Bevan's former band, the Edmund Fitzgerald. After releasing the single "Try This on Your Piano" in 2006, Mears left Foals in order to more fully concentrate on his other group, Youthmovies (formerly Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies), and Philippakis -- who had lived until he was seven in a tiny Grecian village -- added the role of lead vocals to his guitar-playing duties. Edwin Congreave, a fellow Oxford student the frontman had met when they were both working at the same bar, and who introduced the group to techno, soon joined in on keyboards, despite the fact he had never played the instrument before -- nor ever been in a band -- and the full lineup of Foals was completed.

The quintet worked on perfecting its poppy, jittery, upbeat, math rock/post-punk sound by playing house parties around the area, and soon the group was signed to Transgressive Records, which released the singles "Hummer" and "Mathletics" in April and August of 2007, respectively. Foals picked up quite a buzz in the U.K., and in June 2007 they went to New York to record their debut album under the guidance of producer and TV on the Radio guitarist Dave Sitek. The sessions went well, but the bandmembers ended up not being happy with the final mix, choosing instead to remix it themselves, and issuing the full-length, Antidotes -- which, incidentally, included neither "Hummer" nor "Mathletics" -- in March of 2008, while Sub Pop picked up the album in the U.S. and gave it an April release, adding the two neglected singles as bonus tracks.

Two years later the band returned with its sophomore album, Total Life Forever, released by Transgressive Records. After having songs appear on shows like Entourage and Misfits, the band returned in early 2013 with its third album, the expansive and more balanced Holy Fire, Foals' first record to chart outside of Western Europe, cracking the Billboard 200 in the U.S. and topping the album chart in Australia. A concert DVD/Blu-ray, Live at the Royal Albert Hall, followed that fall, and picking up where Holy Fire left off, What Went Down arrived in the summer of 2015. ~ Marisa Brown

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