As we’re quickly approaching the end of 2019, I think it’s safe to say that this year has been dominated by one band. The glorious Oxford four piece, Foals. I have to admit, when they announced the double album, I had my doubts. I generally don’t see the need of a double album. I often think that they’re nothing more than an exercise in self indulgence, just a band getting a bit too big for their boots. When Foals released Part 1: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, many of my doubts were put to rest, it felt like every single track was essential, in the words of Sum 41, it was “all killer, no filler”. It felt like a culmination of every era of Foals, it had everything from the sporadic pace of Antidotes, to the stadium rock size of What Went Down. The brilliance of Part 1 actually made me more nervous for Part 2, I was just hoping they wouldn’t fuck it up.
Spoiler Alert: they didn’t.
Part 2: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost opens with the intro track, Red Desert. One minute and twelve seconds of gorgeous synth sounds, the type of thing that wouldn’t sound out of place in Blue Planet. This peaceful cut then transitions beautifully into the thunderous The Runner, a transition that genuinely made me gasp the first time I heard it.
The Runner is one of my favourite tracks on the album, it embraces a jumpy guitar riff and a funk infused baseline and combines those two elements with Yannis’ soaring vocal performance. It feels like it’s definitely going to be a live staple. It has a similar sound to some of the tracks on What Went Down, but it feels overall like a more complex track than any of those on that project.
Next up is the brilliant Wash Off, this track definitely feels like something that could have been produced by early Foals, it has the same frantic energy as the tracks off of Antidotes. The drums and guitar rattle along at such a pace that Yannis is practically rapping over the top of them, it doesn’t let up, it’s so fast and intense that it’s almost exhausting to listen to. Thankfully Foals decided to put a nice, calm song on next. Oh no, wait it’s Black Bull, probably the most hard hitting, brutal song on the whole album. It has a guitar tone that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Mötorhead track. Yannis screams his way through the track with some of the most aggressive vocals we‘ve ever heard from the frontman. The intro guides the listener in slowly before unleashing utter carnage into their ears. This one is definitely going to be an absolute belter live.
Like Lightning then shakes the style up completely. It sounds vaguely influenced by American garage rock, bands like The White Stripes. It has an infectious chorus that has a sharp guitar riff running through it. Yannis’ vocals on this track are running through a filter, normally I’m not the biggest fan of this, but I think with this track it really works.
Dreaming Of is a slightly more low key track, the verses are understated, the vocals take the main stage, over some twinkly guitars and a steady drum beat. The chorus’ then pick up the intensity a bit with some distorted guitars and heavier drums. The song builds up in a way that Foals seem to have perfected. The transitions between loud and quiet really make this track stand out as one of my favourites.
After the transitional track Ikaria we waltz into the melodic, shimmering beauty that is 10,000 Feet. This song demonstrates the very best of Yannis’ voice, as it really dominates this track. 10,000 Feet glides from its smooth, beautiful verses into glorious, guitar driven choruses. It feels biblical.
The penultimate song on the album is Into The Surf. A soft, reverb soaked ballad. It sounds almost as vast as the ocean itself. This shows how bloody varied their music is, they’re able to feature brutal tracks like Black Bull and slow paced ballads like Into The Surf on the same album.
Neptune, 10 minutes and 18 seconds of pure brilliance. Songs of this length are brave, many of them flop; but if a band can pull one off, it can be legendary. Jesus of Suburbia, 1998 (delicious) and Visions of a Life. Are the first that come to mind. This track is definitely up there with the best of them. It soars from magnificent choruses through to quiet, sparkling moments where Yannis is singing softly over just some light guitars. It is one of Foals’ most accomplished tracks to date and really feels like a song that will put them alongside the legends of rock music.
Overall I think this album is even better than Part 1, it is perfectly paced and really ties up the double album perfectly.
Words: Alex Thomson