Antidotes

These are early days, of course, but some worrying lapses into blustery Editors’ territory aside, Foals prove to be a tricksy, livewire prospect.

One of the slew of rottenly named acts (Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jongs, Ting Tings, even Glasvegas) being tipped for great things in ’08, Foals have been doubly-disadvantaged by their inclusion in the so-called New Eccentrics movement. A state of affairs that provokes two questions. One: are these New Eccentrics much newer that the New Eccentrics of ’05? And two: how eccentric can you be when, judging by press pics, you look exactly like every other maths rock nerd boy in town?

We tread warily, therefore, in their direction. Especially when the cut of their jib (or should that be jeans and fringes) suggests they’re one of those bands whose ambition extends no further than providing the musical bedding for trailers advertising the new series of Skins.

Antidotes, their debut album, represents Foals’ first attempt to justify the hype. And while it doesn’t offer serious validation of their top billing, it manages to do just enough to prevent suspicion flowering into outright contempt.

Pre-release rumours, suggesting that the band were using Antidotes to showcase their Afro-beat credentials, turn out to be wide of the mark. And thank God for that. The prospect of home-counties grammar school boys claiming kinship with radical Nigerian protest musicians would surely have tested the mettle of anyone who’d given up swearing for Lent.

As it is, this is pretty standard post-DFA indie-funk; of the sort that accompanies goal-rounds-up every Saturday lunchtime.

And while ‘Cassius’ and ‘The Race For Radio Supremacy’ are about as memorable as a mid-table toe-poke from Dave Kitson; ‘Two Step, Twice’ and ‘Big Big Love (Fig 2)’ genuinely take wing, and could provide appropriate backing to some wonder strike from Fabregas or Torres.

These are early days, of course, but some worrying lapses into blustery Editors’ territory aside, Foals prove to be a tricksy, livewire prospect. And who knows: maybe in time, they can even live down their bad name.

Key Track: ‘Big Big Love (Fig 2)’

 

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