Intelligent rock. That's the trade of the members of the Oxford, England, band Foals. And, damn, they're good at their craft.
The band's third release, Holy Fire is a catalog of smartly constructed indie synth-rock that feels like an arduous but satisfying journey through the entire existence of humanity in 11 tracks.
The album starts with the empyrean instrumental "Prelude" and rolls into "Inhaler," a slow-building sonic rock song that conjures up the image of mankind emerging from primordial ooze. Then "My Number" transitions to a playful '80s sound.
Lyrics on Holy Fire communicate all of man’s major emotional pillars including love and infatuation on the fifth cut “Everytime” as well as submission to desire on “Milk & Black Spiders.” And while the lyrics are meaningful, the true genius behind Holy Fire is the instrumental progression from track to track.
For instance, the third-to-final song, "Providence," spirals out of control with disjointed instrumental and vocal representation of what might happen if everyone simply abandoned reason and were led solely by impulse. And after "Stepson" laments our goal to make order amid chaos, "Moon" brings the cycle of life to its conclusion.
By the end, we're left with questions about what might have been had we all made better choices. This is the best album so far of a very young 2013.