Albums: new music from Foals, TV Priest, Perfume Genius and Hercules and Love Affair
FOALS – LIFE IS YOURS
ON THEIR upbeat seventh album, Foals prove why they so easily rose to the top of the indie game. The funk-infused effort opens with the title track delivering the positive message “Life is yours, loosen up.”
It instantly stands out as a highlight, while the thunderous melody of the first single titled Wake Me Up is aided by the energetic vocals of frontman Yannis Philippakis. 2am focuses on social anxiety among millennials and its catchy chorus has earned it a well-deserved airplay on Radio 1.
The second half of the album is a different beast. Despite the lack of variety, each of its tracks remains epic, culminating in Wild Green, which is somewhat dreamy and touches on the psychedelic elements of Tame Impala.
Ultimately, Foals demonstrates that the departure of two members hasn’t bothered them and proves that they are still leaders in the modern indie scene.
TV PRIEST – MY OTHER PEOPLE
London rockers TV Priest’s second album comes just over a year after their debut. And where this album felt rushed, My Other People feels perfectly paced.
On tracks such as Bury Me In My Shoes and The Breakers, a distinctive sound shines through.
Unfairly lumped in with the post-punk revival, frontman Charlie Drinkwater and co expand on the funky opener One Easy Things and the low-end I Am Safe Here.
In fact, the band tends towards American alternative rock and grunge – a notable departure from their early days.
Drinkwater’s half-spoken, half-sung vocals still work well, but this time his lyrics turn to introspection – mental health and healing are at the heart of this record.
My Other People is a leap forward for TV Priest, a vulnerable record that connects to a new level.
PERFUME GENIUS – UGLY SEASON
PARFUM Genius enters the avant-garde with Ugly Season. The score for his 2019 theatrical dance production The Sun Still Burns Here is accompanied by a film collaboration with visual artist Jacolby Satterwhite.
Created alongside Perfume Genius’ fifth album, 2020’s Set My Heart On Fire Immediately, Ugly Season fuses cinematic and classical influences with bursts of beauty and melody, and is largely instrumental.
The opening track, Just A Room, is probably the most experimental, with seemingly random piano notes, majestic synths and virtually inaudible lyrics.
The Otherworld Herem sees Hadreas sing in a high register, but then there are more noticeable songs created with producer Blake Mills and his longtime partner Alan Wyffels.
Pop Song, while unlikely to take Eurovision by storm, has a more linear structure and includes drums and percussion.
While newcomers to Perfume Genius should start elsewhere, fans will find much to admire in this uncompromising vision.
HERCULES AND A LOVE AFFAIR – IN AMBER
RAGE, frustration and despair are at the heart of Andy Butler’s latest album as Hercules and Love Affair.
It’s a record that doesn’t take risks and seeks to disturb rather than stimulate.
“I needed to express my unease,” Butler says in the album’s blurb, and to some extent he does.
In Amber is a delicate listen, full of sparse melodies and discordant rhythms. When it works, on tracks like You’ve Won This War and The Eyes of the Father, the listener is immersed in a strange world.
But there are also tracks such as Christian Prayers, which sound confusing, and the propellant One, which fails to stick to Butler’s inventive plan.
Instead, it looks like classic dance floor fodder.
Butler tries something new here and should be commended for it, but In Amber fails to reach the heights of 2017’s stellar Omnion.