“It is perfect. It is beautiful and still.”
My opinion on Foals is biased. Biased because I adore them and because everything I want in a band; they are exactly it. I also think Yannis is probably the best frontman around. That’s a different matter though (but I’ve watched enough interviews he’s done to come to the conclusion that he’s just brilliant, intelligent and really really bloody funny.) Anyway, what’s changed since Total Life Forever? In short, everything.
Holy Fire is out of this world. I guess some would be dubious about whether or not they could make something as great as their previous two records; but when you love a band with everything you have you believe that they can do no wrong. You believe in them and when presented with their new record, you feel at home again. You fall in love with the band all over again because all the reasons that caused you to fall in love with them the first time around just hits you all over again. This is happening right now as I listen to Holy Fire.
As soon as the CD came in the post today (I ordered it from my favourite record shop, Resident Records in Brighton. I fully recommend you buy something from them. Excellent customer service both in the shop and online) I opened it up and just looked at the artwork. Flicked through the booklet and knew immediately I was holding something beautiful in my hands. From the front cover to the band shot in the centre of the booklet to Tinhead’s handwritten lyrics; everything about it just made me believe I was about to listen to something astounding.
Holy Fire starts with the face-smashing Prelude which then goes right into the brain-melter that is Inhaler. When I heard Inhaler last year, it felt like some kind of epiphany or even a release. The way Yannis yells “SPACE” gets me, every single time. Just thinking about it is enough to give me goosebumps. When you just think about a song and this happens, you know you have found sheer perfection.
If I go on about the production on Holy Fire, I will never shut up. I could quite happily go on and on about how on point and brilliant it is, but if you’ve heard the record you will know exactly what I mean. Please go buy Holy Fire. Please. Yannis has a voice that even when his voice crackles slightly (Late Night is a prime example of this) he just sounds so wonderfully vulnerable which makes you really really feel every single word he sings. Edwin, Walter, Jimmy and Jack just make you wish you could play an instrument and be in a band as tight as Foals. Yannis makes you wish you could sing. Hand on heart, this is their best record. I thought I’d have a bit of an issue saying this because I really cannot put into words how much I love Antidotes and Total Life Forever. So yes, Holy Fire is not only the best record they have done but let’s be honest here, it’s evidently going to be the best record of the year isn’t it (if Warpaint release their second record this year, then I will have two favourites of the year but for now, it is Foals.)
I usually find it so easy to pick a favourite track off any record. It happens mainly with first or second listen. This hasn’t happened with Holy Fire. I wish I could pick one song to just obsess over and over. It just won’t happen. I love the sentiment and passion in every single song. I love how every single song is like a dream and that songs like Milk & Black Spiders just oozes such devotion and love. It’s an annoying thing to say, but everything about Holy Fire is so pure. It honestly feels like the gentlest dream you could possibly imagine having. I’m 100% sure that when I fly to Liverpool this afternoon and get on a train for 2 hours this evening to my girlfriend’s that this is the only thing I will be playing. I’ll gaze out of the window and certain parts of certain songs (3.53 in Milk & Black Spiders onwards is on one of them) will just make me want to grab the person sitting next to me and just make them listen to it. Then probably have some in-depth discussion about it all. This is why I write.
I could have easily summed this all up by saying; “HOLY FIRE IS THE BEST THING YOU’LL HEAR ALL YEAR. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.” But it’s a record that just made me want to pour all this love out. I was already stupidly excited about seeing them at the Royal Albert Hall (matinée show, I feel upper class! Not sure how….) This was shown on Friday night after I had a little bit of Red Stripe and wine, and got really excited about a poster for the gig at a tube station. I’m sure my girlfriend told me to shut up, quite rightly so. I took a photo of the poster because I’m a bit ridiculous it seems. Or, I just have a lot of love for Foals. Let’s go for the latter.
So there you have it, from the last 30 seconds of Providence to fragility in songs like Bad Habit; Holy Fire is a truly gorgeous record. Not only will fellow Foals obsessives fall completely and utterly in love with it, but those who aren’t too familiar with them will probably also fall for them too. I could play Holy Fire to my mum and I know it’d cause her to develop an obsession. Maybe my gran too, who knows. I may give that a try. She likes The Jesus And Mary Chain, so it is worth a try. It’s a record that you just do not want to end at all.
Holy Fire doesn’t just show how the band have developed since they started, but it also shows how close they are. When you know a band love each other and how much they enjoy making music together, it just makes you love them even more. It also makes you connect with them even more. Very rarely do I feel I can relate to every song on a record, but with Holy Fire it comes easily. It is honestly a perfect record from start to finish. Buy it for yourself, buy it for others as a gift or just because you think they need it; because let’s face it, they do need it.