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Album: Foals, Total Life Forever (Warner Bros)

Compared to the claustrophobic Antidotes, Foals' second album is a breath of fresh air – as if someone had opened the windows of a hermetically-sealed rehearsal room upon the band's somewhat solipsistic math-rock exercises.

Not only are the tunes far better, but there seems to be more space in the arrangements: the guitars still intertwine like dervish DNA, but the results are less tangled, possessing a skittish air reminiscent of late-period Can ("Two Trees"), or akin to a British Vampire Weekend on "Blue Blood", with the soukous guitar lines lacing together the funk-rock groove. Lyrically, it's less insular, with a series of reflections upon humanity, the soul, scientific progress and what constitutes life, apparently prompted by futurist Ray Kurzweil's theories of artificial intelligence.

Download this: Blue Blood; Two Trees; Spanish Sahara