I think it's safe to say that Foals has the best buzz of any new U.K. band. Their debut album, Antidotes, is a stellar album that's a big bundle of energy with precise syncopation of beats and rhythms. Their show tonight had a lot of energy that the band is know for. That's how I'll remember it. Yannis Philippakis is spastic guitarist and front man, who plays his guitar likes it's trying to bite his crotch off. It's a balancing act of his shyness on stage and having the music take over his body.
The band is based around their heavy bassline and intense drumming. That drummer is a monster I tell you. He tested out his drumming might on every song. While they might be compared to contemporaries like Bloc Party or Arctic Monkeys, they remind me more of the American band, Battles. Foals music is based on repetition that results in a spacey groove and dance beat. I looked around and saw plenty of people nodding their head to the beat. I tend to do the swing my head from side to side move that I stole from Alex James.
Antidotes is a strong contender for this year's Mercury Prize. Depending on where you read from, it was producer by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitak. There's a little gray area on his involvement and what was left of his mix on what we hear on the final release. In any event, I'm surprise how modern it sounds. It just seems everything coming out has some sort of 80s synth basis. Antidotes comes along and it doesn't sound like it stealing from that era at all. The structure is complex with the different rhythms being bounced around amid tempo changes and long-instrumental passages.
I'm not 100% ready to anoint them the next big thing from the U.K. The band will probably acknowledge that tonight was not their best effort. They were caught in traffic, resulting in a short sound check from a tired band at the end of their tour. They even mentioned how frustrated they were with how they are sounding, but they enjoyed Maxwell's Pina Coladas.
The situation reminded me of the Klaxons when they did a few U.S. dates. At that time, they were on the cusp of taking the U.K. music scene by storm. Their album was brilliant because of the clean production, but their live show was a little shaky. Foals' live show is not a full-reproduction of the album. The result is that you feel that energy from their performance and that's why we go to shows. Then again, you can sense their frustration in their performance tonight.
Thus, I think Foals is going to be a hell of a live act once they've played more together and are use to touring in the U.S. I do think they'll make a difference in the U.K. music scene once more people listen to the album.
The Ruby Suns are alright in my book. Like their friends and neighbors Architecture in Helsinki and the Brunettes, these New Zealanders take everything at their disposal to create their own band on pop music. They'll take different instruments and processed sounds and blend together different ideas to make some wonderful, creative music. The one thing that sets them apart from their friends are their heavy use of live procession on top of a drum machine, giving the music a tribal feeling. Their live set was more of an circus act to get all their instruments straighten out. It's like, "You go there and play whatever is nearby, while I turn this nob to the beat and hopefully it will come together."