Foals aren't too chicken to take it back to the noodle. - Oh My Rockness

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Foals aren't too chicken to take it back to the noodle.

May 12, 2008
British newspaper The Telegraph ran a headline that read "Foals: Are They The New Radiohead?" Geez, they take their hype seriously over there. Never mind that this band sounds absolutely nothing like Radiohead. Unless Radiohead was really Don Caballero. Oxford's Foals are five guys that play noodling math-pop with a splash of synthy spazz that you can dance to. Not exactly the formula to sell millions of records.

Foals songs are indie-rock melodic with enough really interesting guitar parts that critics will inevitably call them "arty." You know, like how Bloc Party was "arty." For Foals, think Battles meets Les Savy Fav meets Maps and Atlases.

I like to think this sound didn't come from Foals, but rather came from Chicago circa 1994. You know, when people in that town realized that bands like Urge Overkill and Veruca Salt and Smashing Pumpkins post-Siamese Dream just weren't cutting it for them anymore. So better bands like Cap'n Jazz and 5style and Dianogah came up with something new and noodle-y. (Later this sound turned into Tortoise and Airel M, but hey, nobody's perfect.)

Ok, maybe this sound really came from Louisville, but let's not be sticklers for the details.

Foals new album is out now on the little-known label Sub Pop (what kind of a title is "Bleach" or "Diary" or "Bakesale" anyway?) and this record will certainly take their hype to a new level. So to be prescient, I propose the question The Telegraph should have asked, "Foals: Are They The New Elvis Presley meets The Beatles meets God?"

Opening is pretty much the most perfect partner in sound style for Foals that you can think of. Chicago's Maps and Atlases make music that's hard to wrap your head around. You need a map to figure out where they're going. At first they sound like Don Caballero (of the "American Don" era) with their crazy time signatures and distortion-free rock-outs, but then at other times they sound like Danielson (mostly due to the singer's voice... as far as I know, he doesn't sing in a tree, though) crossed with a masculine version of Joanna Newsom's folk-freak-outs. And, of course, they sound a lot like Foals.


Foals and Maps & Atlases play Troubadour, on Saturday, May 24th.


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