With its storming singles Inhaler and My Number, Foals’ 2013 album Holy Fire firmly established the band as residents at the top table of indie rock, with only one place to go – into the mainstream consciousness, a journey negotiated by many but successfully by few.
If What Went Down is indeed their bid to make that leap without sacrificing any of their artistic credibility, then fair play to them, and on its evidence I wouldn’t bet against them succeeding.
The album’s lead single and title track finds the band dusting down their old Led Zep records – Yannis Philippakis’ voice is surprisingly suited to a Percy Plant-ish wail – and Snake Oil is as heavy and rumbling and its title suggests. Very good they both are too.
Even better are the taut, funky excursions into My Number territory. Birch Tree, Night Swimmer and Albatross are tailor made not just for the indie disco but also for mass wig-outs at next summer’s festivals.
Rock-outs and New Order-ish Mancunian danceathons aside, though, are what could really hold the keys to mainstream success: the Coldplay ballads. Nobody has crossed over in recent years quite like Chris Martin and co, and you can perm one from Give It All, London Thunder and A Knife In the Ocean; if anything’s going to get the band played on the nation’s most popular radio stations, it will be one of those.
Like this? Try these: New Order, Singles; Coldplay, A Rush of Blood To The Head
By Andrew Greenhalgh