[My Gang] Foals – Spanish Sahara : Reco of the Week 3 August 2010


3 août 2010, 18h53m

Track: Spanish Sahara
Artist: Foals
Album: Total Life Forever (May 2010)
Tags: , , , ,
Video: Click the pic...

YouTube, official video

My friends have fallen off their chairs. Smelling salts all round, I do apologise. Yes, this week's recommendation really is Foals.

Last time I wrote about Foals, I was railing against them after their pathetic appearance on the BBC Culture Show when, on asked about their influences for their 2008 debut, Antidotes, lead singer Yannis Philippakis mumbled something about "Senegalese and stuff".

At the time, I spat feathers, dismissing them for the hipster scenesters that they were. And their music stank. I was so impassioned by the diabolical turn of events in the indie music scene, I declared indie music dead and gave it R.I.P. dates.

That was then. Now I see before me a rather lovely beardy boy looking moody in a video and I swoon. He even sheds a tear. Poor little mite.

So, yeah, this is a pretty gratuitous reco. I am besotted. Again.

Maybe when Yannis (first name terms now) was asked that question on national television, he panicked and went all shy and nervous and didn't know what to say. And stuff.

I need a photo.

Have to say, the second album, Total Life Forever, is nothing like the first, which was initially produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek and which the band rejected for being amateur. This time, they say, it's about perfection.

Total Life Forever is ambitious, there's a grandeur about it and also the sense that it's great music in untrained hands. At times, they struggle to control it, so the music scatters momentarily before they manage to rein it in again. Throughout, they experiment, mixing up math rock with the vocal folk harmonies of Fleet Foxes, funk, post-punk, or even new romantic. I swear I can hear Duran Duran in the title track, Total Life Forever. Yannis does what Simon Le Bon did and strains to reach notes just on the edge of his range. For me, this is a familiar technique and something to hold on to as everything else I know is turned on its head.

Proper pop seems to be back in fashion. In interview, Yannis said, "A song that speaks to a vast number of people is a much more difficult and wonderful thing." More like: 'a song that sells ...'

This week's reco, Spanish Sahara, made its first appearance on BBC Radio 1. Though nearly seven minutes long, there is every intention to reach the mass market, so the old jagged edges are gone and instead, we are treated to a sensual epic with a post-rock build up that will slay the hardest heart.

Excuse me while I kiss the sky...

Spanish Sahara begins in silence, very slowly rising to barely audible and what sounds like the ominous sound of Doctor Who's cloister bells in the distance. The eerie sound sets the tone and indeed, the most repeated word in the song is "horror".

Untrained hands wrote, "Spanish Sahara / The place that you'd wanna" and "Like a lilo losing air". But someone striving for perfection wrote, "It's future rust and then it's future dust" and "I'm the fury in your head / I'm the fury in your bed / I'm the ghost in the back of your head".

It's hard to find any flaws in the music, but at the time of writing, I have already heard it nearly ten times, so for me, all the elements have come together and the memory of the first listen has already faded.

The memory of the first viewing of the video hasn't, however. This was the first time I had revisited Foals since 2008 and I was all set to spit a few more feathers, but then I caught sight of those eyes. I didn't care that there are a few aspects that don't work and in fact, cross the line to funny. It doesn't matter and I don't care. Because he's up a mountain and he's missing me. The incongruous ready-butchered carcasses which Yannis roasts in roaring flames was inspired by a traumatic encounter with a dead dog floating in the sea when he was young. No wonder he cried.

Where is he?

There is lovely energy in Total Life Forever even if it doesn't reach the dizzy heights of perfection. Along with that energy is a sense of humour and a sense of letting the music be bigger than themselves. I think this playful approach works better for them than the experimental 'f*** everything up in the studio' that Sitek did. Where before, they were unlistenable, now they're worthy of constant repetition. Where before they were the preserve of snotty scenesters, now they everyone's. And mine. Well he is. You know who.


- My Gang

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Last.fm listeners of this track - 44,202
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 357,086
Position in Last 7 Days: 2 /5,698
Position in Last 6 Months: 5 / 37,829

Date Added: March 02, 2010
Views: 664,558, Ratings: 3,739, Comments: 1,452, Favourited: 6,537 times

Stats after 7 days:

Last.fm listeners of this track - 46,156
No. of plays scrobbled in Last.fm - 373,756
Position in Last 7 Days: 2 /5,370
Position in Last 6 Months: 5 / 37,829

Views: 688,532, Ratings: 3,900, Comments: 1,483, Favourited: 6,740 times

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  • rwitte

    Can't say that I rate the track much above 'innocuous', but I did enjoy the read!

    5 août 2010, 20h27m
  • Hyoajin

    Fantastic track. I felt much the same as you did; having listened to their debut album I was expecting next to nothing from their sophomore effort. Thanks for the read.

    6 août 2010, 17h23m
  • Babs_05

    Thanks for the comments, guys.

    6 août 2010, 17h24m
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