"It's important to us that we're like hummingbirds," Foals singer and guitarist Yannis Philippakis told an interviewer recently, "always restless and moving on to a new thing, not a tapeworm, living in a stomach and eating itself."
A noble mission statement, especially in these times, and the title 'Antidotes' is, at least in part, intended to flag up the Oxford quintet's aim to cleanse your ears of the infection of busker rock. It's a promise that, to a remarkable degree, they fulfil. Taking the no-wave/punk-funk revival as their starting point, they venture in unforeseen directions, unafraid to let a song flourish and expand beyond the three-minute mark. "Heavy Water", for example, begins with a childishly simple arpeggio, then the drums and vocals come in and change the meaning entirely, building stealthily until even a brass section clatters through the doors and gatecrashes the party. What are they about? Swimming, and vampires, everything and nothing. Meaning accrues from listen to listen, cumulative, not linear. I'm not sure Foals are there yet. But at least they're heading somewhere new, hovering to the high branches while others pick the low-hanging fruit.
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