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Eve Whiteside

ALBUM RELEASE: Foals- ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (Part 1)’

WORDS BY: EVE WHITESIDE

This record is one of the most eagerly anticipated in recent years, as the Oxford alternative indie-rock group return with a vengeance after their four year break from releasing music. With the suspense bubbling over during their silent period, the bar was set very high for their comeback. Returning for this year’s tour, with a borrowed bassist from Everything Everything, things are visibly different this time which aptly reflects the state of the world portrayed through this album. The focus is direct and clear: doubt and caution for our threatened planet are saturated throughout the record, and intertwined through every track and lyric.

Our very first glimpse of the record was standout track, Exits, which encapsulates the current state of crisis our planet is in. Front man Philippakis’ brooding vocals echo throughout regarding how completely upside down and fated our world has become as he remarks “I wish I could figure it out, but the world’s upside down”. This track is a statement, possessing the band’s signature sound that sets them apart. With this track and the rest of the album still featuring an array of their familiar confident plucky guitar riffs that were ever-present in What Went Down and Holy Fire – there is a definitive move onto something new and futuristic.

Throughout Syrups there is a prominent striking bass line and slow burning melody, whilst the overall air of the track is ladened with the disappointment of the world. The landscape of the track hinting at the way digitisation has developed and our cities decimated around us – “all the kids have left the towns, foxes howl and preachers bow down”. Similarly, On The Luna features the ominous bridge “we had it all, we didn’t stop to think about it” which echoes the naivety of our nation when facing the issues of climate change – particularly fitting with the tropical February we experienced just a week ago. This is also reflected in the album title itself, with the underlying message to make the most of what you have while you have it, and save it. Despite this underlying message the track itself is simultaneously a classic, feel-good indie anthem.

 

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In particular with the high-tempo, urgent and punchy tracks White Onions and In Degrees, there is a certain familiar energy that would sound incredible in a live set. In Degrees stands out as it shows signs of something new from the group, almost as if it could be played in a nightclub. This track in particular showcases Foals’ new sound and versatility, with synthesised grooves featuring heavily throughout. As you reach the end of the record you find yourself experiencing a much more pensive note that exists in Sunday and I’m Done With The World (& It’s Done With Me), both featuring serene melodies and with melancholy piano whilst Philippakis’ vocals take centre stage.

Only Foals could take on the current anguish and frustration currently felt in the world and transform it into something wonderful and euphoric, taking the listener on a journey from beginning to end. As front man Yannis said, we will not witness the full impact of the album until we hear the second part, so until then, to be continued…

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EP RELEASE: SG Lewis – ‘Dark’

WORDS BY EVE WHITESIDE

Sam Lewis, an innovative producer, DJ and multi-instrumentalist has recently produced an exciting five-track project, which is a part of his ‘Dusk, Dark, Dawn’ sequence under his acronym SG Lewis which aim to represent the three stages of a night-out. All of these will finally come together to form his combined full-length album.

Underneath all his tracks feature a signature electronic undertone that make him recognisable as an artist, which shine through this EP. His music draws upon a rich blend of influences such as James Blake and Bon Iver. However, this album is a step forward from this, whilst also remaining strangely familiar to his previous releases. One of the elements of this EP that stands out is SG Lewis’ distinct talent for collaboration with other emerging and established artists alike, from ranging genres.

A large contrast to ‘Dusk, Dark’ takes a different approach, moving away from the funky disco vibe of the previous EP to reveal something deeper. In a way, ‘Dusk’ was the lively warm-up for the darker things to come. ‘Dark’ aims to represent the magical, mysterious ins and outs of the very height of the night. Building an atmosphere that echoes excitement and bass lines that fill the mind and imagination.

The track ‘Again’ is a personal favourite which won’t be forgotten in a hurry, featuring Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, which begins softly then develops to meet with a warm house bassline, with deep ethereal beats running throughout.

The obvious standout track ‘Hurting’ also possesses a hypnotic, catchy and unforgettable hook with AlunaGeorge’s distinctive vocals. When the track kicks in, the listener is willingly transported to the midst of a bustling club night, the beat alluring and prominent throughout. The soulful electronic nature of Bruno Major echoes clearly throughout ‘Dreaming’, which possesses its own unique, intoxicating aura whilst simultaneously hushed and intimate.

Featuring huge names such as Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and AlunaGeorge, we can only speculate and await the release of the final part of the night, ‘Dawn’. Overall, this part of the album builds momentum for what is to follow, the album capturing a true and accurate snapshot of today’s club culture.

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